Weird Medicine

Scientists Find Bubbles Can Be Better Cancer Treatment Than Chemotherapy

Tiny bubbles may soon change how doctors give cancer treatments. Researchers said the new approach could be a better option than chemotherapy because of improved drug delivery and lower risk of side effects.

The new study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, examined the capability of nano-sized bubbles produced by healthy cells in the body. They mainly support the flow of genetic materials. 

But researchers said the bubbles may serve another purpose. In lab tests, they were able to deliver cancer treatments across the body and to kill tumor cells, Futurity reported Friday.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumors,” Masamitsu Kanada, lead study author and an assistant professor at the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, said. 

Kanada’s team tested the bubbles on breast cancer cells in mice. They used prodrugs, which are delivered to the body as inactive compounds and can be activated when metabolized to fight the disease. 

Researchers then added minicircle DNA to enhance how the bubbles carry the cancer treatment in the body. The prodrug combination therapy was successful at killing cancerous tumors in mice.

“The minicircle DNA-based therapy killed more than half of the breast cancer cells in the mice,” Kanada noted.

The new approach also allowed researchers to target only cancer cells. Chemotherapy is known for its severe side effects since it cannot differentiate between tumors and normal tissue.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumors and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada explained. “This non-specificity can cause severe side effects and insufficient drug concentration in tumors.”

Researchers said the bubble cancer treatment could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses. The approach promises to be an ideal platform for gene delivery and may be introduced to human patients “sooner than we expect,” Kanada added.

The team plans to continue the study and improve its effectiveness and safety. The researchers are set to begin phase-one clinical trial with the new cancer treatment, which will focus on metastatic pancreatic cancer.

bubbles Researchers found a new approach that uses bubbles to deliver cancer treatments to the body, which appears more effective and safer than chemotherapy. Pixabay

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