A Mako-N12 report elaborates on a "highly effective and relatively inexpensive" cancer treatment.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the University of Lisbon have identified a molecule that promises to be more potent than antibodies currently used to treat the disease, which have been widely considered over the past decades as the most effective treatment for cancer.
The report states that after identifying and learning to work with the small, potentially life-saving molecule, scientists say that the the state-of-the-art immunological treatment can lead to a significant improvement in the patient's condition - without the severe side effects associated with commonly-used treatments such as chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, due to the high cost of the proteins, not all patients will be able to access the treatment in question. Following a recent discovery, however, researchers hope that the new method will allow patients from all socio-economic groups to receive access to the treatment.
Experiments indicate that the small molecule improved the activation of immune system cells within solid tumors. "The surface area of a solid cancerous tumor is heterogeneous," explains Prof. Sacchi-Painero. "If a certain area of the tumor has fewer blood vessels, the antibody will not be able to enter that area of the tumor. Since a small molecule undergoes diffusion, it is not completely dependent on the blood vessels of the tumor or their permeability. I believe that in the future the small molecule will be available and make immunotherapy accessible and effective for cancer patients," he points out.
"You have to understand that an antibody is a biological molecule - not a synthetic one, so you need a complex infrastructure and a lot of money to produce it," adds Sachi-Painero. "Today, such an antibody costs a patient around $300,000 per year of treatments."
"We have developed a small molecule that knows to delay the binding of the protein and remind the immune system that it needs to attack the cancer. We have already synthesized the molecule with easy-to-use equipment at a fraction of the price. Another advantage is that it will likely be possible to use it in the comfort of one's home, rather than dealing with a hospital infusion," he concludes.