Assistant Professor Avi Schroeder of the Technion faculty of chemical engineering and the Technion Integrated Cancer Centre. (photo by Ashernet)
Technion researchers in Haifa have developed a new technology for determining the suitability of specific anticancer drugs to a specific patient – before treatment begins. The study, just published in Nature Communications, was led by Assistant Professor Avi Schroeder of the Technion faculty of chemical engineering and the Technion Integrated Cancer Centre. The researchers packed miniscule quantities of anticancer drugs, as well as placebo packages (which contained no drugs), inside dedicated nanoparticles they developed, which have the ability to flow in the bloodstream to the tumor. Attached synthetic DNA sequences served as barcode readers of the activity in the cancer cells. After 48 hours, a biopsy was taken and the anticancer drugs were found mainly in dead cancer cells – that is, they had killed them – while the placebos were found mainly in live cells – that is, they had not killed the cells. A comparison between various anticancer drugs also found differences in effectiveness.