Scientists have succeeded in developing an innovative cancer treatment that illuminates and wipes out tiny cancer cells with breakthroughs that enable surgeons to more effectively target and destroy patients’ illnesses. Did.
A European team of engineers, physicists, neurosurgeons, biologists and immunologists from the UK, Poland and Sweden have joined forces to design a new form of photoimmunotherapy.
Experts believe that it is destined to become the fifth major cancer treatment in the world, following surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Photoactivation therapy illuminates cancer cells in the dark and helps surgeons remove more tumors compared to existing techniques. And within minutes of completing the surgery, it kills the remaining cells. In the world’s first study of mice with glioblastoma, one of the most common and aggressive types of brain tumors, scanning with the smallest cancer cells to help surgeons remove them. A new treatment has emerged that even illuminates and wipes out what remains.
Laboratory-led new form of photoimmunotherapy trials cancer Studies in London also show that treatment can provoke an immune response, stimulate the immune system, and target cancer cells in the future, suggesting that glioblastoma can be prevented from recurring after surgery. doing. Researchers are also currently researching new treatments for childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
“Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be difficult to treat, and sadly, patients have too few treatment options,” research leader Dr. Gabriella Kramer Marek told the Guardian. “Since surgery is difficult due to the location of the tumor, new methods of confirming that tumor cells are removed during surgery and treating residual cancer cells that remain after it may be very beneficial. there is.”
The ICR team leader in preclinical molecular imaging said: In the future, we hope that this approach can also be used to treat human glioblastoma and potentially other cancers. “
This treatment is a combination of a special fluorescent dye and a compound that targets cancer. Studies in mice have shown that this combination dramatically improves the visibility of cancer cells during surgery and, when later activated by near-infrared light, causes an antitumor effect.
Scientists at ICR, Imperial College London, Silesia Medical College in Poland, and the Swedish company AffibodyAB believe that this new treatment will help surgeons remove particularly difficult tumors such as the head and neck more easily and effectively. I am.
The joint effort was largely funded by ICR’s Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Center and Imperial College London. This is a partnership that brings together international scientists from engineering, physics, and life science disciplines to find innovative ways to tackle cancer.
“Interdisciplinary efforts are essential to finding innovative solutions to address the challenges faced in cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. This research is a great example,” said the Cancer Stem Cell Team in ICR and Science. Axel Bearens, the leader of the program, said. Director of Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Center.
“This study presents a new approach to using light to identify and treat glioblastoma cells in the brain, transforming the immunosuppressive environment into an immune-fragile environment. This is an aggressive type of brain tumor. It has stimulating potential as a cure for the disease. “
After decades of progress in cancer treatment, the four major forms that exist today-surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy-are more effective treatments for more people diagnosed with cancer. It means that people can live in good health for many years.
However, the proximity of some tumors to important organs in the body is important for treating cancer so that doctors can overcome the risk of harming healthy parts of the body. It means that a new method is being developed. Experts believe that photoimmunotherapy is the answer.
When tumors grow in sensitive areas of the brain, such as the motor cortex, which are involved in the planning and control of spontaneous movement, surgery for glioblastoma can leave tumor cells that are extremely difficult to treat. That is, the disease may recur. More aggressive later.
The new treatment uses a synthetic molecule called Affibody. These are small proteins designed in the lab to bind with high precision to specific targets. In this case, it is a protein called EGFR, which is often mutated in glioblastoma.
Next, Affibody was combined with a fluorescent molecule called IR700 and administered to mice prior to surgery. When the compound was exposed to light, the dye glowed, highlighting the microscopic areas of the tumor in the brain that the surgeon could remove. The laser then switched to near-infrared light, causing antitumor activity and killing the remaining cells after surgery.
“Photoimmunotherapy may help target cancer cells that cannot be removed during surgery and may help them live longer after treatment,” said Dr. Charles Evans, Research Information Manager at Cancer Research UK. increase. He warned that there were still technical challenges to overcome, such as reaching all parts of the tumor with near-infrared light, but “excited to see how this study evolves. I have. “
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