Published on 16/07/2012
Scientists have developed a 'smart bomb' cancer treatment which attacks cancer whilst boosting the immune system.
Typically, cancer drugs aim to do one of two things: try and neutralise the cancer’s defences or boost the patient immune system.
Now, scientists from Yale University have developed a new way to simultaneously deliver an immune system booster and an anticancer chemical.
Writing in the journal Nature Materials, the new treatment successfully delayed tumour growth and increased survival rates in mice.
The treatment is made up of tiny hollow spheres called nanolipogels (NLGs) which package two different kinds of molecules: an anticancer drug and an immune-boosting protein.
Each NLG is small enough to travel through the bloodstream but large enough to get trapped in leaky cancer blood vessels. Once trapped, the sphere unleashes its two chemicals.
The drug was successfully tested on mice with both primary melanomas and melanomas that have spread to the lung.
Researcher Dr Stephen Wrzesinski, from Yale University School of Medicine in the US, said: "We chose melanoma because it is the 'poster child' solid tumour for immunotherapy.
"One problem with current metastatic (spreading) melanoma immunotherapies is the difficulty managing autoimmune toxicities when the treatment agents are administered throughout the body.
"The novel nanolipogel delivery system we used will hopefully bypass systemic toxicities while providing support to enable the body to fight off the tumour at the tumour bed itself."
If the treatment proves successful in human clinical trials, the drug will be licensed, marketed and available for health insurance patients in the UK. Unfortunately, this process can take many years.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Medical