Home pagePress monitoringNano-factories produce anti-cancer drugs from inside tumors

Nano-factories produce anti-cancer drugs from inside tumors

Date: 19.2.2018 

Like the horse of Troy, scientists at the Technion have developed a way to sneak synthetic cells right into tumor tissue, where they then begin producing cancer-fighting proteins from the inside. The technique was tested in both cell cultures and in mice, and found to be an effective treatment in both cases. 
Kredit: Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.

The Technion scientists loaded molecular machines inside lipid-based particles that resemble biological cell membranes, creating what they call "nano-factories." Once they're activated by sensing the presence of abnormal cells, these particles kick into gear, producing specific therapeutic proteins and pulling the energy and building blocks they need from the tumor tissue around them.

"By coding the integrated DNA template, the particles we developed can produce a variety of protein medicines," says Avi Schroeder, one of the lead researchers on the study. "They are modular, meaning they allow for activation of protein production in accordance with the environmental conditions. Therefore, the artificial cells we've developed at the Technion may take an important part in the personalized medicine trend – adjustment of treatment to the genetic and medical profile of a specific patient."

The technique was tested in cell cultures in the lab, before moving onto tests with breast cancer in mice. The researchers monitored the cells' activity by having them also produce proteins that fluoresce green, which can be clearly seen under a fluorescence microscope. In both cases, the nano-factories proved successful, killing off most of the malignant cells.



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