By TPS • 27 November, 2019
A new technique developed by Israeli sciences from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem which targets cancer cells and leaves healthy ones alone may transform the battle on cancer, as patients would receive less chemo and suffer from fewer side effects.
A research team headed by Professor Alexander Binshtok, head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine, has developed a method that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to malignant cells and bypasses healthy ones.
This discovery could allow doctors to reduce chemo doses for patients, in that way reducing the unpleasant side-effects associated with the treatment and improve treatment compliance and overall prognoses.
Binshtok explained that “most anti-cancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of. This leads to the many serious side-effects associated with chemotherapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step towards reducing patients’ suffering.”
The study focuses on the selective expression of the TRPV2 protein by cancer cells. When activated, TRPV2 protein opens a canal inside cell membranes. Binshtok and his team studied liver cancer cells and were able to successfully insert a low dose of doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic agent, through the canal and directly into cancer cells. The new method targeted cancer cells without harming healthy ones.
In the future, the precision of this delivery method may allow doctors to prescribe lower chemo doses and to relieve patients from some of the harsh effects of chemo.
“It’s too early to make concrete predictions but we are hopeful this discovery will lead the way towards a new, more targeted delivery method for chemotherapy treatment, one that will drastically reduce patients’ pain,” Binshtok concluded.