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Cancer researchers have developed a "smart bomb" treatment that can target tumours with drugs while leaving healthy body cells intact. The technique means that patients will suffer fewer side-effects from the toxic drugs used in chemotherapy.
In experiments on mice, Laurence Patterson of the University of Bradford found that he could localise a cancer drug to the site of tumours and thereby limit its toxic impact in the body. All the animals, which had been implanted with human cancer cells responded to the targeted treatment and saw their tumours shrink. In half the animals, the tumours disappeared altogether. Professor Patterson will present his work at the British Science Festival in Bradford on Monday.
In the experiments, he said, all the mice responded to the treatment. "Sometimes, the treatment is so effective, you remove the ability of that tumour to grow – you appear to cure the mouse. In some studies, we were able to cure half the mice: these animals no longer had any tumour growing in them and they appeared healthy for the 60 or so days of the trial."