Researchers at the Ontario Cancer Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital have successfully proven that cancer cells alone can be killed by a new cancer drug that is triggered by a laser light, a process known as photodynamic therapy (PDT).
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Dr. Gang Zheng, Senior Scientist - Division of Biophysics and Bioimaging, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum/Brazilian Ball Chair for Prostate Cancer Research - Ontario Cancer Institute, Associate Professor, Medical Biophysics - University of Toronto, and Dr. Brian Wilson, Head - Division of Biophysics and Imaging - Ontario Cancer Institute, Professor - Department of Medical Biophysics - University of Toronto, describe the PDT process that they have collaborated on over three years. The collaboration began before Dr. Zheng was recruited to OCI from the University of Pennsylvania in August 2006.
Their paper describes how these new photosensitizer drugs can only be activated by light once they have been localized in the target tumor cells. For the first time Zheng and Wilson have demonstrated that tumor cells can be selectively attacked using a PDT. When the light activates this new drug, it then works to produce a reactive form of oxygen, which destroys only the cells that have been marked by the cancer-fighting drug, thereby sparing other normal healthy neighboring cells.
The process really is about controlling the drugs ability to produce this reactive form of oxygen, explains Dr. Zheng. For the first time, using mouse models and on separate cells, we have shown that it is possible to limit the collateral damage to surrounding normal cells using this approach.
Clinical trials in patients are still a year or two away.
This is an exciting step in the fight against cancer, said Dr. Wilson. This process should greatly enhance the therapeutic window, making tumors much more susceptiPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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