Tag Archives: technology advancement for cancer

Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor’s Blood Supply

Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor's Blood Supply
Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor’s Blood Supply

Robotics has made quite a splash in manufacturing and industrial applications, and now it’s on the brink of a breakthrough in a completely different arena. Future cancer treatment options may include an army of tiny tumor-fighting nanobots.

Biochemistry Meets Industrial Technology

The concept is in the preliminary stages, so real-life use is still far off on the horizon. Scientists are encouraged by the results of a study that was recently published in Nature Biotechnology.

Researchers conducted the test on a group of mice with human breast cancer tumors. Specially engineered DNA nanobots containing a payload of thrombin, an enzyme that causes blood to clot, were then injected intravenously into the affected mice.

Once inside, the nanobots delivered the thrombin directly to tumor-associated blood vessels, where they induced intravascular thrombosis. As a result, cancer cells were deprived of their blood supply and ultimately died off.

Sparing Healthy Cells

While scientists welcome any advancement in cancer treatment, one particular aspect of DNA nanobots is especially promising. During testing on the mice, the nanobots focused exclusively on cancer cells. There was no damage to healthy cells, unlike results often found in traditional cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

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New Medications Inhibit Cancer Cloaking by IDO Enzyme

New Medications Inhibit Cancer Cloaking by IDO Enzyme
New Medications Inhibit Cancer Cloaking by IDO Enzyme

 Cancer treatment research often focuses on destroying the defenses that prevent the immune system from attacking tumor cells. A promising new immunotherapy drug works by disabling one of these protective enzymes.

Disabling Cancer’s Protective Shield

IDO is an enzyme that shields a fetus from the mother’s immune system, which would perceive the fetus as an infection. During the early 2000s, researchers in Belgium discovered that tumors also express IDO, depriving T-cells of tryptophan, an amino acid that fuels T-cells.

Incyte, a small firm in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first to develop epacadostat, a drug that suppresses production of IDO. The company presented their findings, including results of the first meaningful trial in treating lung cancer, at last June’s meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The Medical Community Reacts

According to Vamil Divan, an analyst at Credit Suisse, Incyte’s impressive presentation generated major interest in doctors and investors alike. Incyte also confirmed earlier research that successfully paired epacadostat with Keytruda, another immunotherapy drug, without a significant increase in side effects.

Approval of the combined epacadostat-Keytruda cancer treatment is pending results of a final trial, expected sometime next year. Merck and Bristol-Myers, two of Incyte’s initial collaborators, are working on development of their own IDO inhibitors.

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University Researchers Show How Wearable Technology Can Fight Cancer

Can Wearable Technology Change How Cancer is Fought?
Can Wearable Technology Change How Cancer is Fought?

Wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have been at the forefront of the latest wave of technology. Thanks to researchers at the University of Southern California, wearable technology could be the next step in more effective cancer treatment.

Cancer Moonshot Launches ATOM-HP

“South by South Lawn” (SXSL) is a White House-based festival patterned after the ground-breaking SXSW annual event in Austin, TX. SXSL gathers and celebrates innovators and visionaries who are creating ways to improve lives, both domestically and globally.

The USC project, called Analytical Technologies to Objectively Measure Human Performance (ATOM-HP), is part of the Cancer Moonshot initiative started by Vice President Joe Biden. ATOM-HP uses wearable devices to provide doctors with real-time data that was previously unavailable.

The ATOM-HP Difference

Even during cancer treatment, doctors and patients have only sporadic contact. Decisions are based on the doctor’s observations and self-reporting by the patient, which can result in an incomplete picture of the illness. ATOM-HP lets the doctor “see” effects of treatment and its impact on the patient’s everyday life.

As explained by Jorge Nieva, co-lead on ATOM-HP, the process humanizes treatment by allowing doctors to observe patients beyond the controlled confines of the hospital or clinic. Nieva refers to it as a “safety net for patients” who may be struggling with cancer treatments.

Co-lead Peter Kuhn stressed the importance of ATOM-HP for cancer research. Instead of relying on previously collected data, researchers will have the benefit of real-time information.

Personalized, Non-Toxic Immunotherapy for Cancer

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