Saturday September 21, 2019

Research: Two-headed Arrow Efficient For Killing The Ovarian Cancer

Further, the approach also avoids toxicity issues that have plagued previous antibody therapies

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Breast Cancer
Nano technology offers hope for better cancer testing. Pixabay

Researchers, led by an Indian origin, have developed a two fisted, antibody approach that can effectively destroy ovarian cancer — the deadliest gynecological disease — and could also be utilised to kill breast, prostate and other solid tumours.

According to Jogender Tushir-Singh from the University of Virginia’s (UVA), a major problem with immune therapies for ovarian cancer is that the immune cells intended to kill the cancer cells could not infiltrate the solid tumour bed effectively.

So he engineered an antibody that he likens to a “two-headed arrow”.

One head of this dual pronged “arrow” strikes what is known as the death receptor on the cancer cells, forcing them to die, while the other head strikes a receptor known as FOLR1, a well established marker that suggests a poor prognosis.

“There are a lot of efforts in terms of cancer immune therapy, but the success of these are really limited in solid tumours,” Tushir-Singh said.

“I found that one of the problems is with the solid tumour microenvironment.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“The microenvironment is highly hypoxic, anergic and, particularly in the case of ovarian cancer, some unusually large receptors form a protective fence around tumour cells, so even if the immune cells reach there, there are many obstacles,” he explained.

The newly engineered antibodies are over 100 times more effective at killing cancer cells than the antibodies that have made it to clinical trials.

Further, the approach also avoids toxicity issues that have plagued previous antibody therapies.

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“Liver toxicity has been the biggest problem for a lot of antibodies — they are taken out of the blood too fast and accumulate where not needed,” Tushir-Singh said.

“But by providing a good home for the antibodies in the tumour, we are keeping these antibodies away from the liver,” he noted. (IANS)

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Tiny Bubbles In Body Better Than Chemotherapy, Research Suggests

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy

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Cancer, Treatment, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research
"What we've done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours." Pixabay

Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug.

In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.

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They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added. (IANS)