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Israeli researchers develop groundbreaking technique to neutralize liver colorectal cancer metastases

Illustrative - A cancer patient receiving chemotherapy treatment (Photo: Shutterstock)

A team of Israeli researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva have developed a new method to kill liver colorectal cancer (CRC) metastases with the innovative use of nanosized polymers as deliveries for a chemotherapy drug. The research team also presented evidence that the use of polymers could also reduce metastasis of melanoma in the lung region.

Prof. Ayelet David, the lead researcher of the study, explained that the new technique overcomes several disadvantages of traditional chemotherapy methods.

“Conventional chemotherapy involves the use of small-molecule drugs that are toxic to rapidly dividing cells. The problem is that the chemotherapy lacks cell specificity. The medication travels through the bloodstream and reaches not only the [cancerous] tumor but also healthy tissues, damages fast-growing healthy cells, and causes side effects,” David assessed.

The Israeli professor noted that the significance of the new method lies in its ability to differentiate between cancer cells and healthy tissues. The main focus was to develop drug that would be more effective with fewer side effects.

“We did this by trying to limit the distribution of the drug so that it would not reach healthy tissues and harm them. We wanted to bring the drug only to the right site and release it there so it could work specifically on that site,” David explained.

The new technique could potentially revolutionize the treatment of colectoral cancer, which is reportedly the fourth most diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Although it is the second most common cancer with a lethal outcome, this type of cancer is treatable and curable if detected early.

David likened the new cancer treatment method to guided missiles used in military operations.

“Now our polymer with the chemotherapy drug worked like a guided missile that hits the blood vessels expressing this target. When the polymer binds to the target and enters the cells on blood vessels, it releases the chemotherapeutic drug, and kills the cells that feed the tumors,” the professor explained.

“We selected a strategy to kill or harm the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the tumor rather than directly target the cancer cells themselves. It was a very efficient method because once we cut off the blood supply to the tumors, it translated to the deaths of hundreds of cancer cells,” David added.

Despite its tiny size, Israel has emerged as an important player in international cancer research. In August 2023, researchers from Ariel University presented a nanotechnology method to dramatically advance the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Around the same time, another Israeli research team from the Weizmann Institute of Science developed a potentially new method to treat lung cancer.

The Israeli tech industry plays a crucial role in various medical advances.

In March 2024, Belong.Life, an Israeli company that develops artificial intelligence solutions for the health industry, launched a new intelligent application that offers advanced support to cancer patients regardless of their distance from hospitals and doctors.

“Proximity to hospital or bank account size should not determine priority in answering patients' questions and needs. The BelongAI Dave - Cancer Mentor app will allow us to make personalized cancer support accessible and affordable for everyone,” the company’s CEO and co-founder, Eliran Malki, explained.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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