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Natural compound attacks HER2 positive breast cancer cells
Date:2/18/2014

ralen is effective in targeting this other form of HER2 that is resistant to current HER2-targeted therapies."

Spector said the benefits of psoralen remain dependent on its activation by an energy source, which has been an impediment to its use in solid tumors. Currently, psoralen is primarily used as a topical treatment in conjunction with UV light exposure in a process called PUVA. The treatment is used for skin conditions such as psoriasis and as a therapy for lymphoma by exposing treated blood to UV radiation during a dialysis-type procedure.

"The challenge all along has been to figure out a way of generating UV light deeper in the body," Spector said. That challenge is close to being resolved. In a previous publication, Duke investigators from the Pratt School of Engineering, working in collaboration with Spector and scientists from Immunolight, the company that has funded the research, reported the development of micron-sized particles that absorb energy from X-rays to emit UV light in and around cells, much like the cathode ray tube technology used in televisions.

The tiny particles are injected into tumors along with the psoralen, then targeted by low-dose X-ray that cause the micron particles to create the UV light necessary to trigger psorlen's anti-tumor properties. Spector said the technology is being tested in animals, and may be approved for human trials as early as this year.

"A good part of four years has been trying to figure out how to overcome the biophysics challenge of generating enough energy inside the body to activate the particles and the drug," Spector said. "We've come a long way."


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Contact: Sarah Avery
sarah.avery@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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