New York, Feb 18 (IANS) A research team led by an Indian-origin doctor has 'hijacked' the way cancer lures healthy cells. Now, with the help of a novel technique, the team is ready to drag tumours cells out from the cancer's clutches!
A tiny fishing rod made of nanofibre can do the wonder against one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer - a glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma cancers are difficult to treat because malignant cells spread throughout the brain by following nerve fibres and blood vessels to invade new locations.
"We have designed a polymer thin film nanofibre that mimics the structure of nerves and blood vessels that brain tumour cells normally use to invade other parts of the brain," said Ravi Bellamkonda, chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University in the US.
The nanofibres were implanted into the brains of rats in which a human Glioblastoma tumour was growing.
The fibres served as tumour guides, leading the migrating cells to a 'tumour collector' gel containing the drug cyclopamine which is toxic to cancer cells.
"By providing an attractive alternative fibre, we can efficiently move the tumours along a different path to a destination that we choose," explained Bellamkonda.
Using this method, researchers can partially move tumours from inoperable locations to more accessible ones, said the study published in the journal Nature Materials.
"With this, we may be able to live with cancer just as we live with diabetes or high blood pressure," hoped Bellamkonda.