Science

Now, researchers develop Combination Therapy to treat cancer

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2020 Published on January 15, 2020

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They have developed a synergetic combination of photothermal therapy and chemotherapy using a naturally derived anticancer agent and shown its efficacy in destroying cancer cells

Researchers from top educational institutions have developed a combination therapy for the treatment of cancer. The model offers therapeutic benefits with minimal or no side effects.

Combination therapy, which combines more than one therapeutic procedure, is becoming a preferred method for the treatment of cancer. This is because it can deal with the heterogeneity of cancer cells in addition to providing synergic therapeutic effects.

IIT Hyderabad Researchers have developed this approach in association with researchers from the University of Hyderabad, IIT Bombay and Bose Institute, Kolkata.

The researchers have developed a synergetic combination of photothermal therapy (PTT) and chemotherapy using a naturally derived anticancer agent and shown its efficacy in destroying cancer cells.

The researchers have published their findings in the journal Nanoscale.

What do the researchers say

“In photothermal therapy, a material that converts light to heat is specifically sent to the tumor location, and when irradiated, causes ablation or destruction of the host cancer cells,” Aravind Kumar Rengan, Assistant Professor, Department of Bio-Medical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, said.

He said that IR780 is one such dye that absorbs near-infrared light and generates reactive oxygen species that kills the host cell. This dye is loaded onto a suitable carrier material and targeted at the cancer tissues.

“The development of effective therapies that are specific to the cancer tissues and nontoxic to healthy tissues, remains the ultimate challenge in the war against cancer,” he pointed out.

Current gold-standard cancer treatment approaches such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, continue to have limitations of adverse side effects to the healthy tissues/organs surrounding the tumour.

“The combined photothermal and CfAC therapy holds significant promise for enhanced therapeutic benefits with minimal/no side effects when translated into human application,” he explained.

The researchers used liposomes (lipid nanoparticles a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair) as the carriers for IR780 because of their low toxicity, flexibility, bio-compatibility, bio-degradablity and non-immunogenicity.

The team loaded liposomes not only with IR780 but also with an anticancer agent called CfAC that is extracted from the plant Anthocephalous Cadamba.

These liposomes were tested against human breast cancer cells that were introduced into mice groups.

“We have demonstrated the synergistic and enhanced therapeutic benefits of combinational therapy against breast cancer with minimal or no adverse effects using bio-compatible and biodegradable nanomaterials,” Rengan said.

Published on January 15, 2020
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