A “Smart Bomb” against Breast Cancer
Enthusiasm is running high among scientists who feel they have discovered a possible breakthrough in breast cancer -- in fact, they believe they’ve engineered an unusual drug that can actually stop cancer.
That is a profound statement to make, but they’re not backing off.
At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Dr. David Spector said it was a eureka moment when a new drug, which he and colleagues invented, chewed up and destroyed aggressive and metastatic breast cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
The effect was far greater than they had predicted. Dr. Spector described the drug as a smart bomb in fighting cancer. Tested on mice, it seeks out and latches onto what’s called “non-coding RNA,” a little-understood relative of DNA in the cell nucleus.
Investigators found that non-coding RNA is what breast tumors need to multiply and spread. The new drug changes the cancer tumor into a more passive state, significantly reducing metastasis. Much of the RNA densely packed within a cancer cell was gone within weeks of treatment.
The testing is at an early stage, but to this point the researchers don’t see any significant side effects.
For now, hopes for the future will depend on the next phase, which is testing on human tissue -- with clinical trials to follow as soon as three years from now.