A revolutionary dual-action cancer treatment which fires tiny smart bombs into the bloodstream has been developed by scientists.
The breakthrough will help our body fight the disease by boosting the immune system, as well as blocking cancer cells’ ability to fight our natural defences.
It does all of this at the same time, thanks to an amazing delivery system which uses minute hollow spheres that attach themselves to the tumour and release two different drugs at the same time, as our graphic shows. The spheres, called nanolipogels, melt away after releasing the drugs.
They have already been successfully tested on melanoma skin cancer in mice that had spread to the lungs.
Tumor growth was significantly delayed and the survival of the mice increased.
The new technology is potentially revolutionary because it overcomes a problem with cancer treatment that has been difficult to tackle using existing therapies, say scientists.
Cancer tumours secrete chemicals that confuse the immune system. But attempts to boost patient immunity while at the same time neutralising the cancer’s chemical arsenal rarely work.
Researcher Dr Stephen Wrzesinski, from America’s Yale University School of Medicine, said: “We chose melanoma because it is the ‘poster child’ solid tumor for immunotherapy.
“The novel nanolipogel delivery system we used will hopefully bypass systemic toxicities while providing support to enable the body to fight off the tumor at the tumour bed itself.”
Each nanolipogel is small enough to travel through the bloodstream, but large enough to get entrapped in leaky cancer blood vessels. — Agencies