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March 2022 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
This month, we’re highlighting an exciting, new, minimally invasive method for delivering cancer-fighting molecules to tumors. The results so far are promising. Researchers used animal models to demonstrate the proof of concept, but they hope to begin human trials later this year.

Enjoy the newsletter. Let us know what you think about it on Twitter and/or Facebook. Happy Spring!

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
Bioengineers Use ‘Drug Factories’ to Eliminate Ovarian, Colorectal Cancer in Mice

Rice University bioengineers have shown they can eradicate advanced-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer in mice in as little as six days with a treatment that could be ready for human clinical trials later this year. The researchers used implantable “drug factories” the size of a pinhead to deliver continuous, high doses of interleukin-2, a natural compound that activates white blood cells to fight cancer. The drug-producing beads can be implanted with minimally invasive surgery. Each contains cells engineered to produce interleukin-2 that are encased in a protective shell.

The treatment and animal test results are described online in a Science Advances study coauthored by Omid Veiseh, PhD; Amanda Nash; and colleagues from Rice, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Virginia, and others. Veiseh, an assistant professor of bioengineering whose lab produced the treatment, says human clinical trials could begin as soon as this fall because one of his team’s key design criteria was helping cancer patients as quickly as possible. The team chose only components that had previously proven safe for use in humans, and it has demonstrated the safety of the new treatment in multiple tests.

“We just administer once, but the drug factories keep making the dose every day, where it’s needed, until the cancer is eliminated,” Veiseh says. “Once we determined the correct dose—how many factories we needed—we were able to eradicate tumors in 100% of animals with ovarian cancer and in seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer.”

Full story »
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