Trojan Horses Fighting Cancer
The need for, or the thought of, a course of chemotherapy is a reason to question whether your quality of life will be so compromised that you will say “no” (and die) rather than poison your whole body and live a slightly longer life in an unacceptable way.
On the other hand if a clear anti-cancer effect, without the toxicity evident with current chemotherapy, was possible you would surely decide to fight the cancer.
Sydney scientists Dr Jennifer MacDiarmid and Dr Himanshu Brahmbhatt and their research team at EnGenelC have developed a therapy that promises this clear anti-cancer effect using mini-cells called EDVs (EnGenelC Delivery Vehicle). The first wave of EDVs attach and enter the cancer cell, release ribonucleic acid molecules, called siRNA, and switch off the production of proteins that make the cancer cell resistant to chemotherapy. A second wave of EDV cells is then accepted by the cancer cell and releases chemotherapy drugs, killing the cancer cell.
“The beauty is that our EDVs operate like ‘Trojan Horses’: they arrive at the gates of the affected cells and are always allowed in,” said MacDiarmid. “We are playing the rogue cells at their own game. They switch-on the gene to produce the protein to resist drugs, and we are switching-off the gene which, in turn, enables the drugs to enter.
Significantly, our methodology does not damage the normal cells and is applicable to a wide spectrum of solid cancer types,” said MacDiarmid. “The hope is that the benign nature of this EDV technology should enable cancer sufferers to get on with their lives and operate normally using out-patient therapy.”
Phases of human trials are under way but will take a while. In the meantime, EnGeneIC is working towards establishing collaborations or licensing deals with major pharmaceutical companies in the US, Europe and Japan with a view to co-developing several anti-cancer therapeutics based on the EDV technology.
“This will allow us to fast track the process to get such therapeutics out on the market so that cancer patients worldwide may benefit,” said Brahmbhatt.
Distilled from on-line reports and ABC’s recent Australian Story(s)