Hi-tech 'Trojan horse' can kill cancer cells: researchers

June 29, 2009
Two women look at prostate cancer cells under a microscope. Australian researchers are set to begin human trials of a tiny nano-cell that acts as a "Trojan horse" against cancer cells, a breakthrough they say may curb the need for debilitating chemotherapy.

Australian researchers are set to begin human trials of a tiny nano-cell that acts as a "Trojan horse" against cancer cells, a breakthrough they say may curb the need for debilitating chemotherapy.

The technology could eventually allow cancer sufferers to receive treatment as outpatients, rather than being hospitalised for lengthy bouts of , according to the researchers.

Himanshu Brahmbhatt from Sydney-based biotechnology company EnGeneIC said the research -- outlined in the journal -- had the potential to reduce the side-effects of cancer treatment and make it cheaper.

Brahmbhatt said the technology allowed medics to target cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue, a major problem with existing chemotherapy treatments.

"Essentially you need to get the drug directly inside the cancer cell and not slug the body," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

While researchers have been working on using nano-cells against cancer for at least five years, Brahmbhatt said the latest version had proved 100 percent effective treating cancers in mice which were resistant to conventional chemotherapy.

The cells were loaded with anti-cancer medications and deployed in "waves" to combat cancers, he said.

"The first wave of Trojan horses goes in there and disables the resistance mechanisms inside the cancer cell," he said.

"Interestingly, these are totally receptive to repeated waves of these Trojan horses.

"We can send in these nano-cells again and again and each time we can load them up with different types of armaments against cancer."

The cells will be tested on long-term cancer patients at three Melbourne hospitals later this year.

Brahmbhatt said the nano-cells used less drugs than conventional treatments, making them cheaper to administer.

The targeted treatment also means they have less side-effects than chemotherapy, he said.

"(Cancer treatment) effectively can change to literally an outpatient therapy, where the patient simply comes in once or twice a week," Brahmbhatt said.

"You can receive the treatment in a very short period of time and you can go about your normal life and not have any of these horrific toxic side effects."

(c) 2009 AFP

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7 comments

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Birger
5 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2009
Questions: -What made the nano-cells home in on cancer cells and nothing else?
-How did the nano-cells disable the defense mechanisms of the cancer cells?
-Which types of cancer have been successfully treated with this method, and
-How does this approach differ from previous attempts to selectively insert cytotoxins into cancer cells?
tkjtkj
4.5 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2009
Birger , yes, very valid questions .. and the lack of such critically important info seems to reinforce my own belief that this site is more interested in worthless 'news flashes' than in real science.

Just my humble opinion , of course.
John_balls
not rated yet Jun 29, 2009
Questions: -What made the nano-cells home in on cancer cells and nothing else?

-How did the nano-cells disable the defense mechanisms of the cancer cells?

-Which types of cancer have been successfully treated with this method, and

-How does this approach differ from previous attempts to selectively insert cytotoxins into cancer cells?


I would love to hear the answers to these questions myself.
michaeloder
not rated yet Jun 29, 2009
ZDNet has a few more details:
http://blogs.zdne...h/?p=572

"Researchers there have used bacterial cells stripped of reproductive powers to develop receptacles capable of carrying any chemotherapy drug. These 'nano-cells', which are about one-fifth the size of of normal human cells, are then tagged with antibodies, which are attracted to cancerous tumours. Once the nano-cell hits the cancer and attaches, the drug is released directly into the malignant growth."
Arikin
not rated yet Jun 29, 2009
The whole article is available online.

Abstract:
http://www.cell.c...)00090-6

There are links in the top right to the full article. Choose one under "Article Information".
ginga
not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
Yes, and the latest one is in Nature Biotech...

http://www.nature...547.html

This is the abstract.. unfortunately, you can't read the whole paper online unless you purchase it or have a subscription to Nature Biotech.


In response to Birger:
The EDVs are targeted to the cancer cells using antibodies. The EDVs themselves are loaded with a chemotheraputic drug and deliver their payload once they get into the cancer cell. That's the standard treatment. The latest paper involves attacking cancer cells which are drug resistant and reversing that using siRNAs before hitting the cells with a second wave of EDVs loaded with chemo.

As for which cancers, quite a number including breast, ovarian, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, lukemia, to name but a few.
E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
Good work, but still "hung up" on the "kill the virus" routine. Extract energy by cooling and the accelerated mitosis slows, excess free electrons slow, tumors shrink, and the cell resumes operation. Freeze it if it malfunctions again!

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