Scientists may be able force cancer into dormant state

“This medical breakthrough is exciting. New technology development in other fields, nanochemistry, is used in a lab experiment to cause a cancer to stay dormant. This is the full discussion from UPI. I also included a Tel Aviv University Faculty Information paragraph describing what this scientist is doing.” Bill Chesnut, MD

Scientists may be able force cancer into dormant state                   Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro    ______________UPI Report 2.24.16.

Based on the knowledge that healthy people can live full lives with dormant cancer cells in their bodies never causing a health problem, scientists in Israel found a method to turn the cells off by using a drug that blocks their ability to grow. The proof-of-concept drug prevents osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, cells from communicating with healthy cells around them, stopping growth in lab experiments, ‘Tel Aviv’ University researchers report. The researchers found three microRNAs at low levels in aggressive tumors but at much higher levels in dormant tumors. In a dish, the researchers introduced selected microRNAs to cancer cells, finding they had less of ability to communicate with normal cells. We saw that the osteosarcoma cells treated with the selected microRNAs were unable to recruit blood vessels to feed their growth, Dr. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, head of the cancer angiogenesis and nanomedicine laboratory at ‘Tel Aviv’ University, said in a press release. In order to keep these microRNAs stable in the blood, we needed to encapsulate them in a nanoparticle that circulates in healthy blood vessels, but that disembark and deliver the drug therapy at the leaky blood vessels that exist at tumor sites. We designed a nanomedicine that would have a special activation method at the tumor site in the target cell. For the study, published in ACS Nano, the researchers tested the nanoparticle wrapper method of delivering the microRNAs to the tumor site in mice. Mice treated with the drug survived for six months with the cancer, which Satchi-Fainaro said is the equivalent of 25 years of human life. In addition to planning for clinical trials using the nanomedicine developed at her lab, Satchi-Fainaro said research for similar ways to send other cancers into a dormant phase is underway. We wanted to understand what causes the cancer cells to ‘switch on’ in these cases, Satchi-Fainaro said. As long as cancer cells remain asymptomatic and dormant, cancer is a manageable disease. Many people live with thyroid lesions without their knowledge, for example. Ours is a very optimistic approach, and we believe it could apply to other cancers as well. .

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FROM TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY FACULTY INFORMATION:

Angiogenic Switch Using Rationally-Designed Theranostic Nanomedicines

Our research interests include investigations related to tumor biology, tumor dormancy, mechanism of action of angiogenesis inhibitors, self-assembly of polymeric architectures and novel approaches to target cancer. Throughout, we have maintained an interest in understanding the biological rationale for the design of polymer therapeutics suitable for transfer into clinical testing. Our primary interests are the molecular basis of tumor angiogenesis and the rational design of polymer therapeutics. Our research includes identification and characterization of genes and microRNAs associated with the switch from a dormant avascular tumor phenotype to a fast-growing angiogenic tumor in human cancers and their corresponding mouse models. We focus on the design and characterization of novel drug delivery platforms, including dendrimers and hyperbranched polymer–based nanoparticles, and the design of highly-selective targeting molecules integrating biology, chemistry, protein engineering, computational approaches, material sciences and nanotechnology to selectively guide drugs into pathological sites. Our vision is that novel approaches to target anticancer, anti-angiogenic drugs, miRNA and siRNAs to endothelial and tumor cells to potentially treat angiogenesis-dependent diseases could transform cancer into a chronically-manageable disease.