Pumping In Cancer Drugs: New Microscopic Pump Brings New Hope
Researchers have invented a microscopic pump for cancer drugs. The pump has the ability to transport cancer medication from the patients blood into the very heart of the tumors.
The new pump was created from an engineered antibody. The antibody attaches itself to a protein that is found in microscopic pouches that line the walls of tumors of blood-vessels.
Rats and humane cells were used in the study. The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine on August 17. The new technology was tested lung tumors, but researchers believe that it can be applied to other cancers as well.
If this new technology works as researchers believe that it will, it could solve one of the biggest problems associated with cancer drug therapy. The problem is how to get the drug into the tumor in high enough doses without causing harm to healthy cells.
At the moment, most cancer drugs are injected into the blood and from there they penetrate the tumor by diffusion. The problem with this procedure is that higher levels of the drug may be on the outside of the tumor rather than inside. If this new method delivers as it is expected to, that will mean lower doses can be given. Lower doses reduces side effects, while still increasing the toxicity to cancer cells.
The molecular pump is expected to work with a wide range of medications.
Jan Schnitzer, of the Proteogenomics Research Institute for Systems Medicine in San Diego, says, " It is truly an active transport mechanism. To be active, it has got to move the molecules from one side of a barrier to another against the concentration gradient. We could visualize and quantify this directly for the first time in tumors using a special microscope.”
Other researchers who have reviewed the study say that its findings are significant.
About Tammy Marie Rose
Tammy Marie Rose is an author, blogger and freelance writer with over ten years professional writing experience. She is a divorced mother of three. Her family calls West by God Virginia home.