Another Example of a Targeted Cancer Therapy

One approach to the next generation of cancer therapies is to use existing chemotherapy drugs coupled with cell-targeting mechanisms that deliver those drugs only to cancer cells: "A common chemotherapy drug has been successfully delivered to cancer cells inside tiny microparticles using a method inspired by our knowledge of how the human immune system works. The drug, delivered in this way, reduced ovarian cancer tumours in an animal model by 65 times more than using the standard method. This approach is now being developed for clinical use. ... It's like we've made a re-enactment of the battle of Troy but on the tiniest scale. In Troy, the Greeks fooled the Trojans into accepting a hollow horse full of soldiers - we've managed to trick cancer cells into accepting drug-filled microparticles. ... by coating tiny microparticles of around a hundredth the diameter of a human hair with a special protein called CD95, [researchers] could in fact trigger cancer cells into ingesting these particles. Not only that, but the particles could deliver a dose of a common chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel. The key to their success is that CD95 attaches to another protein called CD95L, which is found much more commonly on the surface of cancer cells than it is on normal healthy cells. Once attached, the cancer cells ingest CD95 and the microparticle with it. Inside the cell, the microparticle can unload its chemotherapy cargo, which kills the cell to reduce the size of the tumour."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/babs-hp091211.php

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