A little blood to see if chemotherapy has hit the target

To combat the Cancer, it is important to find drugs to attack the tumor cells as specifically as possible. Thus, many of the side effects that for example occur with the chemotherapy. But that’s not the only thing science should be looking for. It is also important to check that those cancer treatments they are being effective. And the faster the better.

Every patient is different and the drugs that are effective for one may be useless for another. To know when they are acting correctly, there are already certain techniques, most based on the analysis of samples taken by means of biopsy. However, this is a very invasive and relatively time-consuming method.

For this reason, a team of scientists from the National University of Singapore has developed a novel method based on nanotechnology, which can identify the effectiveness of a treatment in just one hour and with nothing more than a blood sample from patients. Their results have been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Chemotherapy and other individualized treatments

It doesn’t matter if it is throat, lung, breast or any other cancer. Every tumor is different. That’s why treatments like chemotherapy need to be too. And it is important to know as soon as possible if they are doing it right. Thus, there will be a little more scope to look for other alternatives.

To achieve this, the authors of this recent study have devised a mechanism that they have dubbed monitoring of small molecule chemical occupancy in extracellular vesicles and protein expression (ExoSCOPE). This is based on the search for small vesicles excreted by tumor cells. If the chemotherapy or the drug in question has hit the target, there will be small traces in those vesicles. If not, they will still be released, but without any traces of the drug.

Cancer treatments must be individualized

These vesicles are 100 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. They cannot be seen with conventional microscopes. Therefore, they have developed a method that uses gold nano rings to amplify the signals emitted by the drugs contained in them.

The good thing is that you can monitor how treatment is progressing against cancer over time. Thus, it is possible to determine if it is acting correctly.

Fast and effective

In the study, these scientists cite that they analyzed ExoSCOPE in a clinical trial with 106 lung cancer patients.

With a single blood sample of each of them, they were able to perform the test in one hour, determining if the chemotherapy used was being effective. In fact, they determined a 95% of the correct answers in the target cells that were obtained with the conventional mechanisms. Yes indeed, Too much faster.

Clinical trials were conducted with 106 lung cancer patients

These are very encouraging results; since, if they continue like this, they believe that their method could be put into clinical practice in three years. And the best thing is that they think it could be useful to determine the effectiveness of drugs against other diseases, beyond cancer.

In medicine, time is money. Now, thanks to this finding, doctors could have valuable hours to find the perfect drug for each patient.

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