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Stealth Drug Delivery System Targets Tough-to-treat Breast Cancer

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MIT researchers have recently developed a ‘stealth’ drug delivery system designed to attack a kind of breast cancer that is highly resistant to existing therapies and treatments.

Paula T. Hammond and peers at the Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research at MIT illustrate a way to slip small particles into tumor cells, lower their defenses and then proceed to attack them with drugs.

Their work centers on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive disease that is very hard to effectively treat with conventional therapy.stealth drug breast cancer

Their "one-two punch" approach utilizes the "stealth" nanoparticles transporting the cancer drug doxorubicin, as well as short strands of RNA that can seal off one of the genes that cancer cells use to elude the drug. An outer layer shields the particle from deterioration in the bloodstream, which had been a key concern when developing such a strategy on previous attempts.

The researchers note that the system was proven effective in mice and could be modified to treat other forms of cancer.

It's the latest development in the strive toward personalized medicine, particularly in the treatment of cancer. Breast cancer, for example, is now believed to consist of at least 10 totally separate diseases, each with its own life expectancy and calling for its own specific treatment, BBC News explained in announcing a massive cancer database being established in England.

In related news, researchers in Scotland have invented computer technology that classifies "smarter drugs" to treat diseases. The program decodes protein structures in cells and can rapidly tell how the proteins could be "shapeshifted" by drugs.

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