Israeli Scientists’ Groundbreaking Technology May Revolutionize Mesothelioma Treatment

Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently developed a new method of transporting drugs to cancer cells, and it may create a sea change in how malignant mesothelioma and other challenging forms of cancer are treated in the future.

New Delivery System Could Deliver Drugs Directly to Cancer Cells

The new technology is detailed in a study published in the journal Nature, and though it has not yet been tested on malignant mesothelioma cells, its creators hope it will break new ground in the treatment of both blood cancers and certain kinds of solid tumors. According to Professor Dan Peer, who is Tel Aviv University’s Vice President for Research and Development, head of the Center for Translational Medicine and a member of both the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, he and his colleagues developed a way to move RNA-based drugs to specific immune cells that are inflamed by disease without harming surrounding, healthy immune cells that are working to keep the body strong.

The researchers wrote, “Our development actually changes the world of therapeutic antibodies. Today we flood the body with antibodies that, although selective, damage all the cells that express a specific receptor, regardless of their current form. We have now taken out of the equation healthy cells that can help us, that is, uninflamed cells, and via a simple injection into the bloodstream can silence, express or edit a particular gene exclusively in the cells that are inflamed at that given moment.”

Development Built on Targeting Specific Receptor

Professor Peer explained that his technology creates a drug delivery system that recognizes the receptors on every cell, including those of mesothelioma cells, based on specific situations and signals. By programming the RNA delivery system to skip cells that have the right receptor but that are not signaling distress or inflammation, the drug only gets delivered to cells where the malignancy exists.

He explained that in tests, the new drug delivery system ended up being delivered to just 14.9% of the cells that had the specific receptors and left the other 85% that were not involved in the inflammatory condition of the disease alone, thus avoiding them being adversely affected by the drug. The patients treated had the same or better results as those currently being treated, and without side effects. He calls his delivery system ‘door-to-door’, delivering medication directly to the diseased cells. 

Every day researchers get closer to finding a cure for malignant mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare and fatal disease and you need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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