New cancer drug development could be produced from camel blood
Jul 25, 2011
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical Chemistry have found that nanobodies produced by camels could be used in future drugs developed to fight breast cancer and other cancerous cells, signaling a promising new approach to cancer gene therapy.
The study made breast cancer health news when it was recently published in the Journal of Controlled Release.
Scientists found that camels have nanobodies in their blood that serve as therapeutic proteins. Those nanoparticles, through simple chemical procedures, were then infused with the cancer marker Mucin-1, which is associated with breast and colon cancer.
Nanobodies used in cancer treatments can be highly effective because they are incredibly small, approximately 10 times smaller than antibodies. These particles are also more resistant to temperature changes and pH changes.
These nanobodies can be engineered to deliver transgenes to specific cells, which could potentially help increase future effectiveness of cancer therapies.
More than 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 2,140 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American men in 2011. Despite being nearly 100 times less common in men than women, the lifetime risk for breast cancer is still about 1 in 1,000 for males.