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Research Reveals Cancer Drug Effectiveness Substantially Advanced
Date:4/8/2010

Co-administered peptide directs medicines to tumors and deep into tumor tissue, increasing drug efficacy and reducing side effects

Santa Barbara, Calif. (Vocus) April 8, 2010 -- Researchers have shown that a peptide (a chain of amino acids) called iRGD helps co-administered drugs penetrate deeply into tumor tissue. The peptide has been shown to substantially increase treatment efficacy against human breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers in mice, achieving the same therapeutic effect as a normal dose with one-third as much of the drug. In a transformative paper published today in the online edition of the journal Science, Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., distinguished professor at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and founding member of the UC Santa Barbara-Sanford|Burnham Center for Nanomedicine, Kazuki N. Sugahara, M.D., Ph.D., Tambet Teesalu, Ph.D., and fellow researchers at the Center for Nanomedicine and the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, announced this significant advance in cancer therapy.

“Drugs generally have difficulty penetrating tumors beyond a few cell diameters from a blood vessel,” said Dr. Ruoslahti. “This leaves some tumor cells with a suboptimal dose, increasing the risk of both recurrence and drug resistance. The iRGD peptide solves this problem by activating a transport system in tumors that distributes co-injected drugs into the entire tumor and increases drug accumulation in the tumor.”

Dr. Ruoslahti showed in the 1980s that a 3 amino-acid peptide motif (RGD—Arginine-Glycine-Aspartic Acid) serves as a highly selective identifier of malignant tissue, bind-i
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