New ‘tumour-seeking’ drug brings new hope for cancer patientsPublished On: Tue, Nov 22nd, 2011 | Developmental Biology | By BioNews
A new drug has been developed that will specifically target the tumours in the body while leaving healthy cells intact.
In standard cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, drugs attack anywhere in the body damaging healthy cancerous cells.
However, this new drug acts by ‘stealth’, sneaking into cancerous areas without causing damage to the surrounding healthy cells.
In tests the drug took just minutes to home in on bowel tumours before dramatically shrinking them. In some cases, mice whose cancer was thought to be terminal were cured.
The drug, developed by researchers in California, USA, has been made possible by a small protein called IF7, which seeks out the blood vessels that tumours need to grow and spread around the body.
After linking IF7 to a powerful cancer drug, the new two-in-one compound was administered to diseased mice.
The results were dramatic, with many treated tumours disappearing completely within a fortnight, even at low doses, the Daily Mail reported.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said that IF7 targets tumours with ‘unprecedented’ speed.