How to reduce the dosage of cancer drugs by a million times
Immunotherapy holds great promise in the treatment of cancer. This innovative approach stimulates the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells.
However, sometimes malignant tumors trick the immune system into believing that they are part of the body and do not need to be fought.
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel recently developed an immunotherapy platform that inhibits melanoma by using TRAIL proteins from the immune system to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) of cancer cells in particular.
The platform also uses the NanoGhost technology invented by Professor Marcelle Machluf as a drug delivery vehicle to transport drugs directly to tumor cells. NanoGhost uses reconstructed mesenchymal stem cells, which the immune system treats like natural cells.
Machluf and doctoral student Lior Levy successfully integrated the concept of immunotherapy, TRAIL protein and NanoGhost technology to create a highly efficient drug delivery system with the active protein on its outer layer.
As described in Advanced functional materials, this approach makes it possible to reduce the dosage of the drug by a factor of a million while maintaining the same therapeutic effect. In other words, the system can achieve similar results with only 0.0001% of the usual dose.
âThis integration transforms the NanoGhost platform from a ‘taxi’ that delivers the drug to the target into a ‘reservoir’ that participates in war,â said Machluf, whose NanoGhost startup successfully treated pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate and brain cancer in mice.
âThe integrated platform delivers the drug to the tumor and allows for a significant reduction in drug dosage while still doing the job. We have also shown that our method does not harm healthy cells.