In the battle against malignant mesothelioma, one of the biggest frustrations endured by both physicians and patients is the fact that the disease has proven so resistant to traditional treatments. Even the only chemotherapy treatment to receive FDA approval for treatment of the asbestos-related disease provides only marginal results, delivering harmful side effects with only slightly expanded survival times. The hope is that new drug delivery systems will enhance the powers of these cancer-killing drugs, and the latest of these to be explored is a corkscrew microrobot that drills into malignant cells and holds them there while they’re delivering their toxic load.
Korean Researchers’ Microrobots May Help Deliver Mesothelioma-Killing Medications
There are many different reasons why cancer-killing drugs are effective in the lab but prove less so when in the body of mesothelioma patients and those with other types of cancers. One is that the body’s powerful flow of blood and other fluids literally washes the drugs away before they can take effect. Avoiding that natural action is one of the reasons that researchers are working on this innovative new approach.
Corkscrew microrobots are the latest development in a series of microbots that researchers are using to deliver drugs with pinpoint accuracy. They all mimic the same type of action used by viruses, bacteria, sea-life and even submarines, identifying a target, making their way to that target, and then adhering themselves in a way that avoids being shaken or pushed off before they can complete their mission.
Drilling Down into Mesothelioma and Other Cancer Cells
While chemotherapy drugs that are delivered systemically throughout the mesothelioma patient’s body often carry their toxic material to healthy cells and cause serious adverse effects, targeted therapies avoid those complications. Researchers from the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST) in the Republic of Korea have found a way to shape microrobots like corkscrews, with tiny needles at their tips. The microrobots are loaded with cancer-killing drugs, then guided magnetically to the cancerous cells.
Once the corkscrew microrobot arrives at the cells of the malignant tumor, it drills down into the cell and stays there until the medicine is delivered. Though the process has not yet been tested on malignant mesothelioma, it has proven successful on human colorectal cancer cells in the laboratory and it is anticipated that it will be able to do so in as little as seven seconds from the point at which the targeting system is activated.
Mesothelioma researchers are working every day to find a cure and to develop innovative ways to help those stricken by this rare and fatal asbestos-related disease. For information about how you can access state-of-the-art cancer care, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.