Dec 7, 2009 2:52 PM by Carina Corral
A team of researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Burnham Institute for Medical Research have identified a peptide that could lead to "substantial improvements in cancer treatment."
The team, led by Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., identified the peptide (a chain of amino acids) that specifically recognizes and penetrates cancerous tumors but not normal tissues.
This new peptide, called iRGD, could dramatically enhance both cancer detection and treatment.
"In our animal studies, the iRGD peptide has increased the efficacy of a number of anti-cancer drugs without increasing their side effects," said Dr. Ruoslahti. " If these animal experiments translate into human cancers, we would be able to treat cancer more effectively than before, while greatly reducing the side effects the patient would suffer."
The work is being published Dec. 9 in the journal Cancer Cell.
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