Scientists develop 'Smart Bomb' treatment that targets cancer cells

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Researchers at Deakin University, Melbourne are collaborating with Indian scientists to develop a new 'Smart Bomb' drug delivery system that is set to have fewer side-effects than chemotherapy and will target cancer cells in the body rather than attacking both cancer and non-cancer cells.

Project leader Associate Professor Wei Duan said in a statement, “Cancer cells are particularly difficult to kill as they contain so-called cancer stem cells, the root or seed cancer cells that are resistant to drugs”.

The findings include cancer antibodies that are designed to bind specifically to cancer cells, which, together with a gene splicing technique called 'RNA interference', will develop a treatment which penetrates and destroys mutated cells that cause the spread of cancer.

“The success of this project will bring us a step forward in significantly improving the survival rate and quality of life of cancer patients" Dr Duan added.

The Deakin's Univeristy is a collaboration with the Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science, ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals and Barwon Health's Andrew Love Cancer Centre, while receiving $800,000 from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund supported by the Australian and Indian Governments.

According to Dr. Duan, this new treatment can potentially be adapted to counteract degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, heart disease and diabetes. If all goes well, clinical trials of the treatment will begin in a few years.