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Developing Smart Drugs To Home In On Cancer

Posted Nov 20 2012 4:44pm

A medical researcher with the University of Alberta and his team just published their findings about their work on developing “homing beacon drugs” that kill only cancer cells, not healthy ones, thanks to nanotechnology.

John Lewis, the Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, published his findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Nano Letters. He is also an associate professor in the Department of Oncology at the U of A, the director of the Translational Prostate Cancer Research Group and a fellow of the National Institute for Nanotechnology.

Lewis noted chemotherapy goes through the body and kills any cells that are dividing, even healthy ones—which is why cancer patients have immune-system problems, hair loss, nausea and skin problems.

“We are developing smart drugs that determine which are the cancer cells and which aren’t, then selectively kill only the cancer cells. The drugs look for a protein that is only found in cancer cells, not normal cells. This system acts like a homing beacon for tumors.”

 

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