Israeli researchers develop new method to make cancer cells "commit suicide"

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Photo: AFP Relax/Filepic
JERUSALEM. KAZINFORM - Israeli researchers have developed a method that makes cancer cells to self-produce toxins and thus «commit suicide,» Tel Aviv University (TAU) in central Israel said in a statement on Sunday, Kazinform cites Xinhua.

In a study published in the journal Theranostics, TAU researchers «for the first time in the world» encoded a toxin produced by bacteria into messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules and delivered these particles directly to cancer cells, the statement added.

As a result, the cancer cells produced the same toxin, as they were the bacteria itself, eventually killing them with a success rate of up to 60 percent.

The idea was to deliver safe mRNA molecules encoded for a bacterial toxin directly to the cancer cells, unlike chemotherapy treatments, which are not selective and also kill healthy cells.

In experiments, the team first encoded the genetic information of the toxic protein produced by pseudomonas bacteria into mRNA molecules.

These molecules were then packaged in lipid nanoparticles and coated with antibodies to ensure that the «recipe» instructions for producing the toxin would reach the cancer cells.

The particles were injected into the tumors of mice with melanoma skin cancer, and after one injection, 44 to 60 percent of the cancer cells disappeared.

The researchers noted that the new method may be used with many anaerobic bacteria that secrete toxins, especially those that live in the ground and may treat many types of cancer.

Moreover, cancer cells can't develop resistance to the method as often happens with chemotherapy, because it is always possible to use a different natural toxin, they concluded.


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