Israeli scientists combat cancer with nanotechnology, avoiding the dreadful side-affects of chemotherapy.
Israeli medical scientists have made an impressive advance in the war on cancer by developing safe but very effective methods of administering targeted chemotherapy.
Scientists at the Technion University in Haifa are working on a system that administers chemotherapy without causing the repercussions that cancer patients usually incur. This is because only 10 percent or less of a standard drug dose goes to the tumor, with the remaining 90 percent distributed elsewhere in the body.
Chemical Engineering Professor Avi Schroeder, head of the Technion Laboratory for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technologies, is developing, together with his team, nano-sized “factories” that manufacture protein-based cancer drugs inside the body upon reaching the tumor site. This system, another example of Israel’s important medical innovations, is based on similar processes found in nature. At 150 nanometers or less—1/1,000 the diameter of a strand of hair, these factories are injected into the patient and circulate in the blood until finding the tumor.
Another method developed by Technion scientists is a system that releases drugs inside the tumor itself, eliminating the damage to nearby healthy cells.
These systems enable doctors to tailor specific treatments for each patient, depending on his or her needs, and to target the tumor itself, avoiding the dreaded and notorious effects of chemotherapy.
“We want physicians to have better tools for predicting which drugs would be best for each patient, and get them to the target site more efficiently,” says Schroeder.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel