Introducing the Gizmag Store

Researchers develop “cluster bomb” to target cancer

By

August 24, 2010

Researchers liken their breakthrough to a cluster bomb for cancer (Image: KGH and Shutters...

Researchers liken their breakthrough to a cluster bomb for cancer (Image: KGH and Shutterstock)

Although chemotherapy is an effective cancer treatment, it’s shotgun approach also damages healthy cells bringing debilitating side effects such as nausea, liver toxicity and a battered immune system. Now a new way to deliver this life-saving therapy to cancer patients by getting straight to the source of the disease has been developed. The researchers responsible for the breakthrough delivery vehicle liken it to a cluster bomb for cancer because of its ability to deliver the drugs directly into cancer cells before releasing its chemotherapeutic payload.

The nano-sized delivery vehicle developed by Dr. Dan Peer and Prof. Rimona Margalit of Tel Aviv University (TAU) delivers chemotherapy drugs directly into cancer cells while avoiding interaction with healthy cells, increasing the efficiency of treatment while reducing side effects.

"The vehicle is very similar to a cluster bomb," explains Dr. Peer. Inside the nano-vehicle itself are tiny particles of chemotherapy drugs. When the delivery vehicle comes into contact with cancer cells, it releases the chemotherapeutic payload directly into the cell. According to Dr. Peer, the nanomedical device can be used to treat many different types of cancer, including lung, blood, colon, breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and even several types of brain cancers.

Sweet coating

The key to the drug delivery platform is the molecule used to create the outer coating of this cluster nano-vehicle, a sugar recognized by receptors on many types of cancer cells.

"When the nano-vehicle interacts with the receptor on the cancerous cell, the receptor undergoes a structural change and the chemotherapy payload is released directly into the cancer cell, which leads to more focused chemotherapeutic treatment against the diseased cells," says Dr. Peer.

Because the nano-vehicle reacts only to cancer cells, the healthy cells that surround them remain untouched and unaffected by the therapy. The nano-vehicle itself, adds Dr. Peer, is made from organic materials which fully decompose in the body once it has performed its function, making the treatment safer than current therapies.

Clinical trials

This drug will be an improvement on anything currently on the market, says Dr. Peer. Delivering chemotherapeutics directly into cancerous cells themselves is not only more potent, but also much safer.

Drs. Peer and Margalit are working with ORUUS Pharma in California, which has licensed the "cluster bomb" platform from the university to facilitate a quick transition from the lab to clinical trials, which should begin in two years or less, says Dr. Peer.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
Tags
3 Comments

This sounds to the average educated person, wonderful. Two years from now leaves me with a huge MOAN.

Facebook User
24th August, 2010 @ 11:41 am PDT

COUP-TFII (chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II) has been studied for more than 20 years. Blocking this Nuclear Receptor is likely to cut Off Tumor Blood Supply. It has been demonstrated that the receptor directly regulates an angiogenic factor called Angiopoietin-1, which enhances the development of new blood vessels.

I wonder whether the said delivery vehicle can function alongwith the above technique in order to reduce the chemotherapeutic payload.

S P S Sabharwal
24th August, 2010 @ 11:20 pm PDT

A 2 year trip to clinical trials is actually fast. Animal trials need to come first...not mentioned in article if there has been any results here. Most promising cancer treatments do not make it all the way to clinical use. Even if this does, clinical trials can easily take a decade. For current cancer patients, like myself, this potential breakthrough is not likely to be on time. Prevention is much easier than cure. Dr. Mercola's website has a good list of smart prevention ideas...low sugar use, exercise, good diet, good sleep habits, high vit D blood levels, etc. But several cancers have some lower toxicity treatments only a couple of years away...some are better targeted attacks like the one proposed here. Mono-clonal antibodies, for example, are already used on some cancers to good effect and several better ones are in trial now. But in general there is more promise and hype around than effective, life extending chemo treatments available now. See books by Ralph Moss for details. He is not a treatment doc, but offers services that help make decisions based on your life style preferences and help you arm yourself for talking with treatment docs. I found them most useful.

tsvieps
28th August, 2010 @ 11:41 pm PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles

Just enter your friends and your email address into the form below

For multiple addresses, separate each with a comma




Privacy is safe with us because we have a strict privacy policy.

Looking for something? Search our 26,475 articles