Jump to content
The Talon House

Cancer bomb zaps tumor cells in mice


Recommended Posts

Cancer bomb zaps tumor cells in mice

Treatment could have the same effect in humans, scientists say


Updated: 7:49 p.m. ET July 27, 2005

LONDON - A smart anti-cancer bomb that acts like a Trojan horse can penetrate deep into tumors where it explodes and destroys cancerous cells without harming healthy ones, scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who devised the molecular size bomb tested it in mice with skin or lung cancer. Mice given the treatment lived more than three times longer than untreated rodents.

The scientists believe it could have the same effect in humans.

“We’re quite hopeful and optimistic that as we translate this into humans the results pan out as they have in animals,” Professor Ram Sasisekharan, of MIT’s Biological Engineering Division, said in an interview.

The smart bomb uses nanotechnology which manipulates materials on a molecular or atomic scale, to deliver chemotherapy drugs to destroy the tumor and anti-angiogenesis agents to block its blood supply.

After the bomb, which is like a balloon within a balloon, is injected into the bloodstream it travels to the tumor and burrows deep inside. The outer membrane then disintegrates and releases an anti-angiogenesis drug so the blood vessels feeding the tumor collapse.

Few side effects

The drug-packed nanocell trapped inside the tumor explodes unleashing the chemotherapy drug to kill the cancerous cells. No healthy cells are destroyed so debilitating side effects such as hair loss, vomiting, nausea and weight loss could be eliminated.

“If you don’t really shut the supply lines the tumor cells can escape and that is how they metastasize (spread). By killing the supply lines you are limiting the leaching of the chemotherapy agents to the healthy cells,” Sasisekharan said.

Eighty percent of the mice treated with the nanocell bomb lived longer than 65 days while rodents receiving the best chemotherapy lasted only 30.

Mice that had no treatment died at 20 days.

The smart bomb was more effective against melanoma than lung cancer which the scientists, who reported the findings in the science journal Nature, said shows the need to change the design of the bomb to attack different types of cancer.

“It’s an elegant technique for attacking the two compartments of a tumor, its vascular system and the cancer cells,” Judah Folkman, a cancer expert at the Children’s Hospital Boston, said in a statement.

Because the smart bomb, which is a new approach to drug delivery, uses existing drugs and materials the researchers think it could have a similar impact in humans.

They also believe it could be adapted to work for other types of cancer and illnesses and to test drug combinations.

“We’ve been able to show you can definitely decrease toxicity (of the drugs) and increase efficacy,” said Sasisekharan.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8726644/

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...