TEL-AVIV – Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed a novel drug that delivers anti-cancer compounds straight to the tumor.
Lead researcher Dr. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro believes that the new invention may alleviate particularly malicious forms of cancers like osteosarcomas and bone metastases and combat resistance to anti-cancer drugs like Taxol, keeping other normal healthy cells around the tumor safe.
Most of us have small tumors in our body at all times. They start the size of a pinhead and usually remain at that size as dormant and asymptomatic tumors. Then, at some point, cancer cells proliferate and the tumor grows in mass.
At that point the tumor cells migrate to the bones and start recruiting blood vessels using a chemical attractant in order to draw blood for their continued growth in a process called angiogenesis.
The researchers looked into the chemical that causes the blood, or endothelial cells, to gravitate to the activated, newly malignant cancer cells.
According to Satchi-Fainaro, the innovative drug delivery system delivers compounds like Taxol known to stop blood vessel growth to cancerous tumors.
She bound existing cancer drugs to an inert polymer that doesn’t react with the immune system.
“Like a stealth airplane,” she says, the polymer passes through the body’s defense system unnoticed.
Then, programmed to find the tumour using the bisphosphonate drug Alendronate, a drug that binds to bones, the carrier delivers its cancer-killing payload.
The study conducted over animal models, found that the researchers were able to reverse the growth of bone cancer tumors.
In a second study, she found that loading her polymer with the anti-cancer drug Taxol could inhibit tumor growth by 50pct, compared to a Taxol dose that had no effect on tumor growth at all.
The study is published in prestigious journals Angewandte Chemie and PLoS One.