SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists have developed a "trojan horse" therapy to combat cancer, using a bacterially-derived nano cell to penetrate and disarm the cancer cell before a second nano cell kills it with chemotherapy drugs.
The "trojan horse" therapy has the potential to directly target cancer cells with chemotherapy, rather than the current treatment that sees chemotherapy drugs injected into a cancer patient and attacking both cancer and healthy cells.
Sydney scientists Dr Jennifer MacDiarmid and Dr Himanshu Brahmbhatt, who formed EnGenelC Pty Ltd in 2001, said they had achieved 100 percent survival in mice with human cancer cells by using the "trojan horse" therapy in the past two years.
The scientists plan to start human clinical trials in the coming months. Human trials of the cell delivery system will start next week at the Peter MacCullum Cancer Center at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Austin at the University of Melbourne.
The therapy, published in the latest Nature Biotechnology journal, sees mini-cells called EDVs (EnGenelC Delivery Vehicle) attach and enter the cancer cell.
The first wave of mini-cells release ribonucleic acid molecules, called siRNA, which switch off the production of proteins that make the cancer cell resistant to chemotherapy.
A second wave of EDV cells is then accepted by the cancer cell and releases chemotherapy drugs, killing the cancer cell.
"The beauty is that our EDVs operate like 'Trojan Horses' They arrive at the gates of the affected cells and are always allowed in," said MacDiarmid.
"We are playing the rogue cells at their own game. They switch-on the gene to produce the protein to resist drugs, and we are switching-off the gene which, in turn, enables the drugs to enter."
DISARMING TUMOUR CELLS
RNA interference, or RNAi, is designed to silence genes responsible for producing disease-causing proteins and is one of the hottest areas of biotechnology research. RNA was the basis of the 2006 Nobel Prize in medicine.
Dozens of biotechnology companies are looking for ways to manipulate RNA to block genes that produce disease-causing proteins involved in cancer, blindness or AIDS.
Brahmbhatt said that after treatment with conventional drug therapy, a large number of cancer cells die but a small percentage of the cells can produce proteins that make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs.
"Consequently, follow-up drug treatments can fail. The tumors thus become untreatable and continue to flourish, ultimately killing the patient," said Brahmbhatt.
"We want to be part of moving toward a time when cancers can be managed as a chronic disease rather than being regarded as a death sentence," he said.
The Nature report said the mini-cells were "well tolerated with no adverse side effects or deaths in any of the actively treated animals, despite repeated dosing."
"Significantly, our methodology does not damage the normal cells and is applicable to a wide spectrum of solid cancer types," said MacDiarmid.
"The hope is that the benign nature of this EDV technology should enable cancer sufferers to get on with their lives and operate normally using out-patient therapy."
I just saw some pictures recently uploaded on facebook that went back to the summer before I moved to Auburn and even some as far back as Pre-FC for me! Upon looking at those pictures, and the flurry of memories that came with them, I began to contemplate how many people I have known that have moved away from Auburn, or how many people I have moved away from. In these pictures, I saw people that I hadn't thought about in a couple of years! It's absolutely crazy the number of people I saw of which I no idea when I saw last, nor when the next time I will see them will be........
In teaching the prison epistles this quarter though, I have been reintroduced to Paul's relationship with the different churches, among which I have been specifically impressed with the love he had for the Ephesians. I can't imagine how he felt to know that he would NEVER see them again and the amount of sorrow and weeping that took place as they shared their final goodbye.
This got me thinking about some of the songs that we sing, and how I have always looked at the song "If we never meet again" as a sad song. Partially because of its tune (I think it's a sad tune musically) but also because my memories of this song are of growing up and looking around at people crying as the song is sang (for whatever reason....loved ones moving away, a dear friend passing, etc). Upon further thought, and being a little older I'm sure that mingled in with those tears of sadness had to have been tears of joy.
Joy, because on this side of River of Life we may lose contact with those that we hold dear. Perhaps it's because life's circumstances that loved ones are carried to far away lands or even an unforeseen tragedy ends someone's life suddenly and in our opinion too soon. Regardless of the reasons for our departure from one another it doesn't have to be goodbye. We have a hope for something better than what this 'land of parting' can offer us, and thank God for that. Thank God for His plan to change our corruptible bodies, into something incorruptible 'where separation comes nevermore'. Now THAT is change I can believe in.