Science has put up a tough fight against cancer and is getting closer to victory day by day. The vicious pandemic hurts millions around the world annually, either as an illness or as second-degree sufferers. But, a team of scientists has found a way to kill it from within.
It is no secret that targeting cancer cells with medicine is a tricky business. Doctors have tried various ways – most are painful – to kills cancer cells, but not today. A group of scientists at Ohio State University have found a way to target cancer cells as they feed.
They put together nanotechnology and chemotherapy to create portions of drugs for the deadly cells to feed on. Just like a Trojan Horse, the scientists have found smuggling routes into the cancer cells. The new method was tested on mice with acute myeloid leukemia or AML, which is a type of leukemia that attacks myeloid cells in the body resulting in an increase of white blood cell production in the bone marrow.
The researchers faced problems treating AML cells as the are highly resistant to certain chemotherapy drugs, which is why they resorted to smuggle the drug daunorubicin into DNA. What are called “origami capsules” conceal the drug, which in time were given to the cancer as food, basically. When these capsules were given to the usually-resistant cells, they consumed. The folded DNA released drugs and killed the cancer from within. A significant observation is that when molecules of daunorubicin enter an AML cell, the cell usually recognizes them and pushes them back out through small openings, but this technique camouflages the drugs in undetected.
They added that they were able to tailor the capsules to target only cancer cells and avoid side-effects in other parts of the body.
The treatment method is however still very new and under pre-clinical testing for efficiency and safety. If it works on human patients, it can potentially revolutionize the way we treat cancer, and save millions of lives.