‘We are hopeful this discovery will lead the way towards a new, more targeted delivery method for chemotherapy treatment, one that will drastically reduce patients’ pain,’ says Binshtok.
Cancer cells tend to grow fast, and chemotherapy is designed to kill them fast. However, chemotherapy drugs can’t differentiate between fast-growing cancer cells and fast-growing healthy cells.
As a result, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often suffer unpleasant side effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, hair loss, mouth sores, and skin problems.
A research team headed by Professor Alexander Binshtok, head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine, is developing a method for the drugs to only target the cancerous ones.
“Most anti-cancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of,” says Binshtok. “This leads to the many serious side-affects associated with chemotherapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step towards reducing patients’ suffering.”
The TRPV2 protein in cancer cells allows it to communicate with its extracellular environment through the transfer of ions, which when active opens a select pathway for the proliferation of more cancerous cells. Binshtok and his team used that same pathway to successfully target the cancer cells with a low dose of chemotherapy without affecting the healthier ones.
“It’s too early to make concrete predictions,” says Binshtok. “But we are hopeful this discovery will lead the way towards a new, more targeted delivery method for chemotherapy treatment, one that will drastically reduce patients’ pain.”
Date published: 27/12/2019
Feature image: worldisraelnews.com
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