Targeted Tumor Therapy


Future Work

The work that is being conducted has shown very promising results.  However, as pointed out before, it is difficult to find peptides that are specific to every cancer.   Since cancers can be inherently different from each other and possess no common unique markers that can be targeted, it can be a long process in finding homing peptides to target every cancer.  Also, due to the fact that cancers evolve, homing peptides found today could be useless at the time they reach clinical trials.  Cancers have been known to change their surface antigen expression to avoid recognition by the host immune system.  The key to work around these evasion strategies is to target a surface antigen that is integral to the tumor's viability.  The success of this therapy is dependent on technologies that can create a high throughput method to detect surface peptides and then create a complementary homing peptide to it. 

Much of the newer research is focused on targeting the vasculature of tumors and preventing angiogenesis from occurring.  It is known that cancers can live in hypoxic environments for periods of time so delivery devices must be able to sustain their anti-angiogenetic abilities to prevent the tumor from winning the battle of attrition.  To sustain the homing peptide/drug conjugate in vivo it must be attached to a carrier.  Nanocrystals need to be fabricated in a way to increase the incorporation of the drug within the tumor cell while preventing incorporation into normal cells or uptake by the reticuloendothelial system.  Work has already show that coating the surface of nanocrystals with polyethylene glycol reduces the amount of nanoparticles removed from circulation by the spleen and the liver.

In order for these tests to proceed to any type of clinical trials, drug toxicity tests need to be performed on the wide range of chemotherapeutic drugs that will be used.  Although the intent is to target the drugs to the tumor, byproducts of the drugs can lead to acute toxicity.

Simultaneous multi-colored imaging of quantum-dot tagged cancer cells. The colors are visible through the skin of the live mouse when illuminated with a black light. Courtesy Shuming Nie, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Website created by Suraj Kachgal
University of California, Irvine
BME 240
June 2006

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