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‘Colon cancer is a very aggressive tumor and spreads very quickly to the liver,’ explains Prof. David.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

A groundbreaking nanosized polymer developed by Israeli researchers has demonstrated promise in treating colorectal cancer liver metastases, offering hope for patients facing advanced stages of the disease.

Published in the peer-reviewed Nano Today journal, the study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev reveals how this novel therapy selectively delivers chemotherapeutic drugs to specific blood vessels feeding tumors and metastases.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum. In 70% of advanced cases, the cancer metastasizes — or spreads — to the liver. Liver metastases are common with CRC because the liver receives blood directly from the intestines, providing an easy route for cancer cells to spread.

The Ben-Gurion research team, led by Prof. Ayelet David, unveiled a nanosized polymer measuring 2-5 nanometers in size. This polymer, equipped with a targeting peptide, effectively homes in on endothelial cells lining blood vessels that support tumor growth. Specifically binding to the adhesive molecule E-selectin, which is found exclusively on endothelial cells of new blood vessels feeding tumors, the polymer delivers cytotoxic drugs directly to the cancerous sites.

“Colon cancer is a very aggressive tumor and spreads very quickly to the liver. About 25% of the patients with CRC present liver metastases at the time of diagnosis,” Prof. David explained.

“The available personalized treatments may prolong survival and improve quality of life for many patients with metastatic disease, although a cure is rare, and recurrence is expected,” she added. “Our unique polymer demonstrates promising preclinical results for treating advanced cancer that has spread to other places in the body and usually cannot be cured or controlled with other therapieBreakthrough Israeli Nanotherapy Targets Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastasess.”

Half of the mice treated with the polymer demonstrated complete remission after a single dose therapy, effectively eliminating the metastases from the liver. Furthermore, the long-term survival rate of these mice doubled compared to those treated with conventional chemotherapy drugs.

The researchers have licensed the technology to the Israeli biomedical company, Vaxil Biotherapeutics for further development. Vaxil is taking steps to initiate human trials.

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