LA JOLLA, Calif., November 21, 2011 The trouble with most anti-cancer therapies is that they are lethal to most cells in the body, not just cancer cells. As a result, patients experience side effects like nausea, increased susceptibility to infection, and increased risk of developing secondary cancers later in life. Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) are developing techniques to deliver cancer drugs directly to tumors, increasing their effectiveness and decreasing collateral damage. In a study published the week of November 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, a team led by Michiko Fukuda, Ph.D. coupled a cancer drug to a small protein called IF7, which is specifically attracted to the blood vessels that feed tumors. When administered in a mouse model of human colon cancer, IF7 carried the drug directly to tumors, where it suppressed growth at low dosages and with no apparent side effects. These findings suggest that IF7 is an efficient drug delivery vehicle that could be further exploited to target a variety of anti-cancer therapeutics where they're needed most, without harming other tissues.
"We can cure terminal stage mice with very large tumors without any side effects simply by giving them this drug coupled with IF7," said Dr. Fukuda, professor in Sanford-Burnham's National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center and corresponding author of the study.
Carbohydrates coat the surface of every cell in the body. Theyand the proteins that bind themplay important roles in many cellular processes, including tumor formation and cancer metastasis. However, unlike genes or proteins, carbohydrates are difficult to synthesize in the lab. To get around that hurdle, Dr. Fukuda and her team tested a collection of short proteins (called peptides) in the hopes of finding some that can mimic carbohydrates and inhibit carbohydrate-dependent metastasis. IF7 was one of t
|Contact: Heather Buschman, Ph.D.|
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute