Researchers have developed a way to deliver cancer drugs, which they claim will not cause the usual sickness and hair loss by just using a fat-rich coating.
Until now, treatment of cancer has relied mainly on surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Though these strategies have benefited millions of cancer patients to date, the lack of tumour specificity of some of these agents make patients feel sick or result in significant hair loss.
Now, an international team, led by Queensland University, has developed the way which can specifically shut down cancer-causing genes in tumour cells while sparing normal healthy tissues.
According to lead researcher Sherry Wu, the new method which involves the use of coatings rich in fats, will hasten the application of RNA interference or gene-silencing, a technology which can inactivate individual genes.
Using this technology, the team observed a 70 per cent reduction in tumour size in a cervical cancer mouse model.
“The traditional ways of packaging these drugs into suitable carriers are often complex and labour-intensive. The resulting products are also unstable at room temperature which is obviously not ideal for their clinical use.
“In order to deliver these gene-silencing drugs safely and efficiently into tumour tissues in the body, we have to package them in lipid-rich carriers,” Wu said.
Added co-researcher Nigel McMillan: “We are excited about our findings and we are currently investigating the feasibility of combining this gene-silencing technology with low dose chemotherapeutic agents in cancer treatments.”