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Dr. Dan Peer  (Source:
Delivers drugs directly into cancer cells

Scientists in Israel have come up with a way to target cancer without damaging healthy cells. Two researchers at Tel Aviv University developed a nano-vehicle that carries tiny particles of chemotherapy drugs through the body.  The drugs are released when the nano-vehicle comes into direct contact with cancer cells.  

Dr. Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University's Department of Cell Research and Immunology and the Center for Nano Science and Nano Technology and Professor Rimona Margalit of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology invented the tumor-targeting device.  

"The vehicle is very similar to a cluster bomb," explains Peer. 

A sugar molecule recognized by many cancer cell receptors is used to create the outer coating of the cluster.  The microscopic nano-device is wrapped in this sugary coating -- which serves as a trojan -- tricking the 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," said Peer.

The direct release leads to more focused treatment against the cells. As a result, this nano-vehicle can be used to treat various types of cancer and increases the benefits of chemotherapy while reducing side effects. Since the nano-vehicle is made from organic materials, it is safer than current therapies and according to Peer and the materials decompose once its function is complete.

Peer and Margalit are said to be working with a pharmaceutical company in the United States with expected trials to being within the next two years.  

The Tel Aviv team's breakthrough, published in the most recent edition of the Biomaterials journal can be found here.

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Sucks to have cancer now
By Ristogod on 8/25/2010 9:38:05 AM , Rating: 1
Sucks to be anyone with Cancer now and dying from it within the next few years.

"Yay, they found the cure! Just in time to let me die before getting it!"

RE: Sucks to have cancer now
By safcman84 on 8/25/2010 10:01:22 AM , Rating: 3
At least they can say "soon nobody will have to go through what I have" - especially if its a hereditary weakness

obviously wont compensate completely but its better than nothing.

RE: Sucks to have cancer now
By MrBlastman on 8/25/2010 10:20:35 AM , Rating: 4
This is great news. I am confused though.

I thought we were already using cluster bombs to fight cancer... in the Middle East. ;)

RE: Sucks to have cancer now
By Adonlude on 8/25/2010 4:10:36 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Sucks to have cancer now
By slunkius on 8/26/2010 5:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
But this is not a cure, it just delivery mechanism, meaning that chemotherapy drugs won't poison whole organism, but just the part with cancerous cells. You still must have drugs which would do the cancer cell killing, and the one's we have are not 100% effective.

By neihrick1 on 8/25/2010 11:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
i like the sound of the cancer fighting salmonella better, seems like a more direct cure

RE: Salmonella
By neihrick1 on 8/25/2010 11:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
p.s. its awaiting fda approval for trials so its like right there

RE: Salmonella
By Jaybus on 8/25/2010 12:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that cancer cells are by definition abnormal. Not all cells of a tumor are necessarily the same exact cell. You may kill off every single cell of a particular cell type, only to find that the tumor comes back as a different cell type. There is much debate as to whether the treatment caused a mutation in a tumor that began as a single cell type, or if the other cell type was already there in small numbers and the treatment killed off its competition for nutrients and oxygen.

So targeting a particular receptor may or may not "cure". I tend to think it has to be better than a blanket poisoning of all cells because cancer cells are slightly more susceptible to the poison, which is what standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy has been doing for 50 years with limited success.

Another area I find exciting is a physical chemistry approach to targeting using small molecule drugs, as opposed to a biologic targeting cell receptors. One of these called PV-10 has finished a phase 2 trial for metastatic melanoma. And the same drug is also in trials for liver and breast cancer.

By Iketh on 8/25/2010 5:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
cluster bombs have always killed cancer... they just killed the host too...

RE: ....
By PrinceGaz on 8/25/2010 9:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
Very true, but at least as non-signatory to the recent agreement to remove cluster bombs from their arsenal, Israel are now using their right to own and use cluster bombs for beneficial purposes.

Here in the UK, we signed up to that agreement which has the plus-side of meaning our armed-forces won't kill and maim countless civilians with the unexploded cluster bomb fragments, but also means we can't deploy them in a war against cancer.

I Wonder How Long...
By mmatis on 8/25/2010 11:53:35 AM , Rating: 3
before the Muslim world develops the Jihad bomb, which will target all cells EXCEPT cancer cells? I bet that the NASA Administrator is working with them right now...

By Zstream on 8/25/2010 9:02:54 AM , Rating: 2
This is fantastic news!

Too Bad...
By DougF on 8/25/10, Rating: -1
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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