A new cancer therapy could be a major breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer, after it was proved to be particularly effective in treating nice.
The research in question has raised hopes that it will be possible to deliver drugs to vital organs by utilising the technique that bypasses cell defences that are currently resistant to treatment by conventional methods.
In tests on mice with incurable breast cancer that had spread to the lungs, half were free of the disease for at least eight months – the equivalent of 24 years in humans.
Researchers conducting the study believe that if the effect can be transferred to humans that it would have a particularly positive influence on metastatic cancers.
“We are talking about changing the landscape of metastatic disease, so it’s no longer a death sentence,” Dr Mauro Ferrari, president of the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Texas and lead in the study, commented.
The research comes just days after another “staggering” new breast cancer therapy was found to have destroyed deadly tumours in just 11 days.
Ferrari urged caution on the subject, but also indicated his belief that the research has massive potential in treating breast cancer in the future.
“I would never want to over-promise to the thousands of patients looking for a cure but the data is astounding. If this research bears out in humans and we see even a fraction of the survival time, we are still talking about dramatically extending life for many years. That’s essentially a providing a cure in a patient population that is now being told there is none.”
However, despite the undoubtedly positive developments, British cancer experts have been more lukewarm about the research.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, of Breast Cancer Now, emphasised that implementing the technology among human beings will be extremely difficult and challenging.
“While the results look promising in mice, there is still a long way to go before we will know if this technique could be an effective treatment for women.”
Dr Ferrari and his team used a standard chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin, but absorbed it into microscopic discs made of silicon, which disguise the drug from the cancer.
Once inside the tumour cells, the discs break down and release the drug
Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Ferrari explained why the research has been particularly effective.
“Lung and liver metastases are the two main reasons why we lose cancer patients. The results we have proven with this paper is that we can provide a functional cure; we can essentially cure long-term, [giving] disease-free survival for about 50 per cent of the animals that we provided this therapy to.”
New research published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine could provide a real breakthrough in understanding and treating strokes.
A team of German researchers has discovered that extracellular vesicles (EVs) – tiny membrane-enclosed structures that travel between cells – can have similar efficacy in assisting the brain to recover from a stroke as adult stem cells.
The research was conducted at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where scientist administered EVs to a group of stroke-impaired mice, while another tranche of the mammals was treated with adult stem cells from bone marrow.
Following a four-week monitoring period, the researchers concluded that both groups demonstrated similar degrees of neurological repair.
Aside from the positive effect that EVs were observed to have on brain recovery, there was also evidence that they contributed to the modulation of post-stroke immune responses. Thus, there is hope that EVs can provide long-term neurological protection.
It is hoped that with further research that the study could lead to a new clinical treatment for ischemic strokes.
This would be extremely advantageous, as scientists involved in the study believe that EVs carry far fewer risks than adult stem cell transplants.
Team co-leaders Thorsten Doeppner, a neurologist, and Bernd Giebel, a transfusion medicine specialist spoke on the findings of their work, proclaiming it to be a significant breakthrough.
“We predict that with stringent proof-of-concept strategies, it might be possible to translate this therapy from rodents to humans, since EVs are better suited to clinical use than stem cell transplants,” said Doeppner and Giebel.
With the study promising huge potential to treat serious conditions in the future, further research is now being undertaken to investigate the role that EVs can play in treating cancer, infectious diseases, and neurological disorders.
Although this study was not the first to acknowledge the effectiveness of EVs in the post-treatment of strokes, the the Duisburg-Essen study is a pioneering effort in terms of its side-by-side analysis of EVs brain repairing qualities.
“The fact that intravenous EV delivery alone was enough to protect the post-stroke brain and help it recover highlights the clinical potential of EVs in future stroke treatment,” Doeppner and Giebel proclaimed.
The study was the result of a collaboration between ten researchers from Duisburg-Essen’s Department of Neurology and Institute for Transfusion Medicine.
Every year, around 110,000 people have a stroke in England and it is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.