Cancer care: Anti-tumour medicine now more effective due to new delivery technique
By Lucy Quinton
A new method of delivering anti-tumour medicine to cancer patients is set to revolutionise the way the disease is treated over the next few years.
As a result of using this delivery, the medicine can penetrate deep into a tumour and release powerful chemotherapy drugs to attack cancer cells. The technology was developed in the Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
The results, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed it to be revolutionary because, while previous drug carriers improved the amount of drugs that reached their required destination and reduced toxicity, they sometimes decreased the drugs' ability to kill the tumour cells.
With this new method of delivery, once inside the tumour, the drug carriers explode and release the new drug to attack the cancerous cells. They are expected to work on any solid tumour, such as those in the breast, prostate or ovaries.
It is still in the rudimentary stages at present and it could well be another three to four years before it is available on the UK market.
Professor Karol Sikora, medical director at CancerPartnersUK, said the findings were "quite interesting, because it may allow the drug to be given in larger doses without the side effects it currently has on the heart and bone marrow".
However, Prof Sikora added that it was difficult to judge how important this finding was because lots of drugs will surpass it.
Dr Ning Tang, who led the study, said the technique would transform crude chemotherapy into a more targeted weapon, adding that, once available, it could solve one of the biggest problems of using chemotherapy - how to get the drug deep inside the tumour.
According to the findings, "Doxorubicin delivered by nanocarriers was more effective in preventing tumour growth than free doxorubicin".
Each one is made of fat and designed to dissolve within a few hours of being injected. Once it has disappeared, the anti-cancer drug is left to do its work.
The mice, used as part of the study, that received the treatment method lived longer, and had fewer toxic side effects.
The results showed those given even a low dose survived 40 days or longer.
The news that the ABI and British Medical Association (BMA) agreement on GP report (GPR) fees has broken down will usher in a period of uncertainty.
Lack of innovation investment in the UK insurance market has been highlighted by recognition of RGA's work in the US.
Protection business in 2012 and 2013 will be affected by events this year and some fundamental changes to the way customers policies are priced into the next. Richard Verdin explains.
Employee assistance programmes are in the spotlight due to a schizophrenic approach by government. But as Sue Weir points out, they are backed by solid research.
How will people buy insurance in future? Greg Becker visits the US for developments in online distribution.