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New tumor-targeting agent images and treats wide variety of cancers
Date:6/11/2014

MADISON, Wis. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) report that a new class of tumor-targeting agents can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, even illuminating brain cancer stem cells that resist current treatments.

What's more, years of animal studies and early human clinical trials show that this tumor-targeting, alkylphosphocholine (APC) molecule can deliver two types of "payloads" directly to cancer cells: a radioactive or fluorescent imaging label, or a radioactive medicine that binds and kills cancer cells.

The results are reported in today's issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, and featured in the journal's cover illustration and podcast.

The APC targeting platform is a synthetic molecule that exploits a weakness common to cancers as diverse as breast, lung, brain and melanoma. These cancer cells lack the enzymes to metabolize phospholipid ethers, a cell membrane component that is easily cleared by normal cells. When given in an intravenous solution, APC goes throughout the body even across the blood-brain barrier and sticks to the membrane of cancer cells. The cancer cells take up the APC and the imaging or treatment medication riding on the molecular platform, and retain it for days to weeks, resulting in direct cancer cell imaging or treatment.

The APC analogs were able to tag 55 of 57 different cancers. This large study had multiple stages, including testing in cancer cell lines, in rodents and rodents infected with human and rodent cancers, and in human patients with different cancers such as breast, lung, colorectal and glioblastoma (brain cancer).

"I was a skeptic; it's almost too good to be true,'' says co-lead author Dr. John S. Kuo, associate professor of neurosurgery and director of the comprehensive brain tumor program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "It is a very broad cancer-targeting agent in terms of the man
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Contact: Susan Lampert Smith
ssmith5@uwhealth.org
608-890-5643
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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