Journal: Nature Chemical Biology
Affiliations: 13Go to article
Sorting out cancer cells
© Martin Konopka /EyeEm/Getty
Identifying the difference between normal and malignant cells is essential for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer using targeted therapies. Now, a China-US team has engineered sugars in a new way to tag cancerous cells.
Targeted therapies use markers on the surfaces of cancer cells for which antibodies can be designed to target and deliver treatments. But using current methods, this doesn’t work for all cancers.
The team, including researchers from the Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Soochow University, has developed a new method to mark cancer cells for treatment using glycoengineered small-molecule sugars that can be targeted with a molecule known as DBCO.
The system was successfully tested in mice on tumours caused by several forms of cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer, for which present target therapies don't work well and for which survival rates are very low. The researchers say it’s the first time tumours have been successfully labelled and targeted using small-molecule sugars.
- Nature Chemical Biology 13, 415–424 (2017). doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2297