Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Using nanotechnology to suppress glioblastoma
Here’s good news, possibly wonderful news from ScienceDaily.com: “…a Northwestern University research team is the first to demonstrate delivery of a drug that turns off a critical gene in this complex cancer, increasing survival rates significantly in animals with the deadly disease.” Here’s a link to the web posting about the success to date in mice: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030142813.htm
What’s particularly nifty about this protocol is that “The novel therapeutic, which is based on nanotechnology, is small and nimble enough to cross the blood-brain barrier and get to where it is needed -- the brain tumor. Designed to target a specific cancer-causing gene in cells, the drug simply flips the switch of the troublesome oncogene to "off," silencing the gene. This knocks out the proteins that keep cancer cells immortal.”
What I like about this approach is that it seems to bode well for addressing other diseases: "This is a beautiful marriage of a new technology with the genes of a terrible disease," said Chad A. Mirkin, a nanomedicine expert and a senior co-author of the study. "Using highly adaptable spherical nucleic acids, we specifically targeted a gene associated with GBM and turned it off in vivo. This proof-of-concept further establishes a broad platform for treating a wide range of diseases, from lung and colon cancers to rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis”.
Appropriately, the article notes that “Thanks to the Human Genome Project and genomics research over the last two decades, there is an enormous number of genetic targets; having the right therapeutic agents and delivery materials has been the challenge.”
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_11486779_vector-seamless-dna.html'>happyroman / 123RF Stock Photo</a>