In the laboratory, scientists work with bands of RNA aptamers Missiles and bombs can be used for very worthy purposes.
One of the most important developments in cancer treatment has been accomplished by medical researchers in Australia and India. They created the world's first chemical missile, an RNA aptamer (binding molecule), that shoots straight for the root of a cancer and won't let go.
The discovery is reported in the journal Cancer Science.
Current cancer treatments target cancer cells that form the tumor, but none have been successful at killing the cancer's stem cells that make up the 'root' of the cancer. Professor Wei Duan, Director of the Deakin Medical School's Nanomedicine Program, one of the developers of the 'chemical missile,' explained that the inability to target the root of the cancer means the cancer is almost impossible to kill, which is why survival rates for cancer victims remain poor overall.
Developing the RNA adapter is the first part of a project undertaken by Deakin University (Australia), the Australian Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and the Barwon Health's Andrew Love Cancer Center (Australia), and ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals. The second, you may have guessed, is to make the 'smart bomb,' the cure (if one dares to use that word).
“The minute size of the aptamer means it could locate cancer cells in their very
early stages. Attaching radioactive compounds to the aptamer could lead to the
development of sensitive diagnostic scans for earlier detection, more accurate
pinpointing of the location of cancer, better prediction of the chance of cure
and improved monitoring of the response to treatment.“More accurate
identification of the type of cancer present would lead to more personalized
treatment that is more successful and cost-effective.“This could ultimately lead
to better cancer survival rates and greatly improved quality of life for
Professor Duan says the 'bomb' will likely come in the form of a fat particle "that can carry anti-cancer drugs or diagnostic imaging agents directly to the
cancer stem cells, creating the ultimate medical smart bomb.”
Dare one hope this discovery will come soon?
sources: Times of India, Tehparadox