UV cancer drug hope30th October 2007
A team from Newcastle University have said they may have found a way of making cancer drugs (monoclonal antibodies) work better and target tumours by using UV light.
Scientists said in ChemMedChem that they have discovered a way of ensuring that antibodies are only activated when light is directed at them. Current antibody treatment destroys healthy tissue as well.
"It's very difficult to get the antibodies to specifically target the tumour," says Professor Colin Self, who headed the Newcastle team. "They get taken to places you don't want them."
Professor Self and his team have designed a system where the antibodies are disguised with a light-sensitive organic oil which prevents them from activating until light is shone on them.
The team tested six mice who had been given ovarian cancer. The UV treatment in conjunction with the antibodies was able to destroy the tumours in five of the mice.
Antibody treatments - such as Herceptin - are in use to target cancer. Scientists have designed other treatments which are unable to be used until they can find a way of directing them safely to the site of a tumour.
Clinical human trials are scheduled for 2008 and will be performed on secondary skin cancers. However, experts have warned that even if the trials work well, it could be over ten years before the treatment is in common use.
Josephine Querido, Cancer Research UK senior science information officer, welcomed the results and commented: "Developing treatments that attack cancer cells but leave healthy tissue unharmed is the holy grail of cancer research."
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Title: UV cancer drug hope
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 4603
Date Added: 30th Oct 2007