Implanted 'Drug Factory' Wipes Out Cancers in Mice
By: April Carson
In mice, tests with a new type of cancer therapy have shown some amazing outcomes, including the complete eradication of advanced-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer in the animals within six days of treatment.
The therapy relies on implantation of a so-called "drug factory" directly into the tumors. The device is made up of dozens of small, drug-releasing discs, each just a few millimeters in diameter. Once implanted, the discs immediately start to release their cargo, killing the cancer cells.
We shouldn't get our hopes up too much yet since the new therapy has only been tested on mice thus far, so keep your expectations in check. Although the early findings are encouraging, it's possible that human clinical trials will begin before the year is out.
The therapy's goal is to use Interleukin-2 (IL2), a natural substance that activates white blood cells to assist in the fight against cancer. The treatment includes tiny "drug factory" beads that are implanted into the body and provide a continuous, high dose of IL2 to the patient.
“We simply give one dose, but the drug factories produce the dosage daily as needed until cancer is cured,” explains bioengineer Omid Veiseh from Rice University in Texas.
To test the therapy, the team implanted cancerous tumors into mice and then gave them a dose of the drug factory beads. The tumors were eliminated within days, and no further tumors developed even after stopping treatment.
“We successfully eliminated tumors in 100 percent of test animals with ovarian cancer and seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer when we determined the correct dose – how many factories we needed – which means that we may cure all patients, regardless of their diagnosis,” he added.
Interleukin-2 is a cytokine protein that activates the immune system. Despite the fact that cytokines are already being utilized in cancer therapy, for example, for melanoma and renal carcinoma, scientists strive to deliver cytokines to fight tumors while avoiding excessively high levels of inflammation elsewhere in the body, which can have severe consequences.
In this study, the beads were placed in the peritoneum, which is a sac-like membrane that covers the intestines, ovaries, and other abdominal organs. Because of this, it is feasible to use particular medicines to treat cancer without putting too much strain on the body.
The huge dosages of interleukin-2 supplied by these pharmaceutical factories would be dangerous through an IV drip, yet it works here since it is targeted just to the tumor. Protein amounts in other parts of the body are around 30 times lower than around the tumor, according to studies.
The negative energy is kept at bay by this calming bracelet. The beads are composed of a hydrogel outer cell that protects the cytokine-producing cells from harm. The immune system perceives these beads as strange objects but not as significant threats, allowing them to function. Then they may be directed to shut down.
Veiseh adds, “We discovered that foreign body responses were safely and effectively turned off the cytokine flow from the capsules within 30 days. We also showed that a second course of treatment might be administered safely in the clinic if required.”
The technology has already been licensed to Q BioMed Inc., a biomedical company, which will work on developing it for human use. Veiseh is the scientific founder of the company and will serve as its chief medical officer.
The researchers said the drug factory beads might be utilized to treat other cancers in the body if a suitable lining to contain them is accessible, and they may be designed to carry additional drugs. It's a versatile and creative system, according to the researchers.
One of the study's co-authors, Dr. Carl June, commented on the findings in a press release.
“This is a new paradigm for cancer therapy,” he said. “We can implant drug factories into patients with cancers and tumors and turn them off without having to give them any additional drugs.”
“We showed that the ‘drug factories' allow adjustable local interleukin-2 administration and tumor removal in several mouse models, which is very exciting,” says Amir Jazaeri of the University of Texas. “This provides a compelling reason for clinical testing.”
The research was published in Science Advances.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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