UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Canadian biophysicists and oncologists offer a fabulous alternative to the traditional treatment of cancer. No chemotherapy, radiation treatment or surgery. Only a small pill.
Sounds like magic? Partly it is.
Researchers around the world have long been occupied with the question of how to effectively treat cancer without multiplying the suffering of patients with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy .
It seems that scientists from the University of Alberta in Canada have found a way to get rid of many types of cancer, “just” strengthening the immune system with a pill like aspirin .
“We use the word” magic “because our concept is not just for a certain type of cancer she will try to solve the problem associated with any kind of illness,” – said the lead author of the new study Khaled Barakat.
The biophysicist announced the search for such a “magic wand” four years ago. With the help of a supercomputer and a “dream team” of cancer researchers, he predicted properties and subsequently synthesized a tiny molecule that could become just such a miracle cure. A detailed description of the research team Barakat published in the publication Scientific Reports.
In order to make the mechanism of action proposed by scientists more understandable, let us explain how cancer cells of various tumors protect themselves from destruction by the cells of the immune system. For these purposes, they produce special substances that are similar to the so-called immune checkpoints .
So experts call certain proteins of our body. These are a kind of molecular “brakes” that normally restrain immunity from excessive attacks (including on one’s own tissues).
A tumor produces many of the same substances, thus deceiving the immune system (especially T-lymphocytes) and depriving it of its ability to attack a growing tumor.
True, the innovative approach used by Nobel scientists gave rise to a number of serious side effects. So, scientists used special antibodies to remove the natural “brakes” and, accordingly, activate T-cells of the immune system.
The problem was that antibodies are large molecules that have not been removed from the body for months. That is, simultaneously with treatment, the risk of an “attack” of the body on itself increases (this is how autoimmune diseases develop).
In addition, it turned out that the cancer treatment method proposed by the Nobel laureates is extremely expensive and difficult to manage.
Therefore, the staff of the Barakat laboratory spent the last four years looking for a new drug that can “wake up” the immune system, while avoiding dangerous adverse reactions of the body.
Using the supercomputer IBM Blue Gene / Q , equivalent in power to 60 thousand ordinary desktop computers, scientists designed and then synthesized in real life a tiny molecule that can do the job cleanly.
By the way, this is not the first time that a supercomputer helps oncologists find a way to treat cancer.
The molecules obtained thanks to modern technology have already been tested and evaluated by various specialists, including chemists, immunologists, virologists and biochemists.
According to the researchers, the big plus of small molecules that suppress immune control points and “turn on” immunity is the ability to leave the body in just a few hours. This speed eliminates the development of autoimmune reactions.
In addition, due to their small size, molecules can penetrate deeper into the tissue.
But, according to the researchers, the biggest advantage of the molecule they developed will be its truly widespread use. Since the same immune control points are involved in many types of cancer, now there will be one universal drug to fight them.
So, the substance will be effective for the treatment of melanoma, breast cancer , lung, lymphoma and even some brain tumors.
However, even the best magic (albeit on a strictly scientific basis) also requires time to hone.
So, Barakat and his team now have to test their invention on different groups of animals. Recall that this is an integral stage of testing the effectiveness and safety of any new medicine on the way to clinical trials (that is, to human tests).
By the way, it is planned to produce the medicine in the form of conventional tablets, which do not require special expensive storage conditions, unlike the “traditional” anti-cancer antibodies.
Now scientists are working on finer and more precise “tuning” of molecules and are already looking for partners among pharmaceutical companies.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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