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New Cancer-Killing Proteins Target Tumors in Bloodstream

New Cancer-Killing Proteins Target Tumors in Bloodstream
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 January 2016 03:55 PM

In findings that could open the door to new cancer treatments, Cornell University researchers have discovered powerful cancer-killing proteins that can travel by white blood cells to kill tumors in the bloodstream.

The discovery, which is based on studies of mice with metastatic prostate cancer, is preliminary but promising, according to the researchers who will publish their breakthrough work in the Journal of Controlled Release.

"The therapy is remarkably effective in vivo and shows several advantages, such as no toxicity and getting good results with very low dosages," said senior author Michael King, a professor in Cornell's Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. "It was our wildest dream to completely prevent the spread of prostate cancer. And that's what happened in this system."

By attacking and destroying cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream, the proteins can prevent the formation and growth of metastatic tumors — those that have spread from one site to other parts of the body.

While surgery and radiation treat primary tumors, it is difficult to detect and reach metastatic cancer cells, King explains.

King's laboratory created tiny nano-sized particles with a protein called TRAIL (Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand) that attach to white blood cells. As the blood cells travel throughout the bloodstream, the “hitchhiking” TRAIL protein kills tumor cells — effectively clearing the bloodstream of cancer.

The group found that a single dose of the therapy — even delivered very late in the course of the disease — can substantially reduce the number of tumor cells.

"This suggests that it may never be too late to help," King said.

The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

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Cornell University researchers have discovered powerful cancer-killing proteins that can travel by white blood cells to kill tumors in the bloodstream.
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2016-55-13
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 03:55 PM
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