Anti-cancer drug tracks its own success in tackling tumours

1 August 2014

Asian scientists have developed an anti-cancer drug able to demonstrate its own efficacy.
A team led by Bin Liu from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore, in collaboration with Ben Zhong Tang at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, modified a platinum prodrug so that it was able not only to target tumour cells, but also to show how effective it had been in doing so.
The medicine converts to a toxic form when inside the cells it is targeting, triggering apoptosis and activating a sensor that fluoresces green, showing that cancer cells are being killed.
According to Liu, this ability could revolutionise how tumours are assessed and addressed. "The effectiveness of cancer treatment is commonly evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging to measure tumour sizes, but this is unsatisfactory as the change in size is not obvious at the early stages of therapy. Our system can simultaneously deliver the therapeutic drugs and noninvasively evaluate the therapeutic responses in situ."

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