Researchers from EnGeneIC, an Australian firm from the suburbs of Sydney, have developed a cancer treatment that so far performed remarkably well in animal tests. By encompassing toxins in “minicells”, made off of chunks of bacteria cell membrane harvested during division, they were able to deliver chemicals precisely to neoplasm sites while helping bypass the tumor’s natural defenses.
Sydney Morning Herald reports:
In the first step, the mini-cells were filled with tiny pieces of genetic material, called short interfering RNA molecules, and injected into mice with drug resistant colon, breast and uterine tumours.
The molecules switched off the gene in the tumours that made them resistant to chemotherapy.
In a second-wave attack a week later mini-cells filled with the cancer drug were injected, and the tumour cells were killed with much smaller doses of the toxic agent than normal, avoiding harmful side effects.
All the treated mice, which had been transplanted with aggressive human cancers, survived and their tumours shrank or growth was halted.
More from the Sydney Morning Herald…
Abstract in Nature Biotechnology: Sequential treatment of drug-resistant tumors with targeted minicells containing siRNA or a cytotoxic drug
Image: Colon cancer cells. Wellcome Images.