Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

FSU researcher using computers to hone cancer-fighting strategies

07.07.2008
A Florida State University faculty member who uses computational techniques to evaluate a new class of cancer-killing drugs is attracting worldwide attention from other researchers.
Kevin C. Chen, an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, is using high-powered computers to determine how substances known as recombinant immunotoxins can best be modified in order to attack and kill malignant tumors while doing minimal harm to a patient's healthy cells.

"Cancer is a disease of tremendous complexity, so the analysis and interpretation of data demands sophisticated, specialized computational methods," Chen said of his research.

Recombinant immunotoxins, Chen explained, are new drugs that are being tested in clinical trials for certain types of cancer therapy. They consist of tiny fragments of antibody proteins that are fused at the genetic level to toxins produced by certain types of bacteria, fungi or plants.

"Once injected into the body, the antibody portion of the immunotoxin targets specific proteins, called antigens, that are massively expressed on the surface of cancer cells," Chen said. "These cells are subsequently killed by the accompanying toxins. Normal, healthy cells, meanwhile, are not recognized and thus are spared."

... more about:
»Drug »immunotoxin
That is the theory, at least. In practice, Chen acknowledges that numerous factors can decrease the immunotoxins' effectiveness. Among them:

*The large size of some immunotoxin molecules can hinder their ability to move to the targeted location to bind readily with cancer cell proteins, leading to efforts to reduce their size.

*The immunotoxin molecules' stability in the bloodstream and in the extracellular matrix can affect their length of time in circulation and in tumor tissues, respectively, thereby determining their effectiveness at killing the optimal number of cancer cells.

*The rate at which immunotoxins bind with malignant cells and the relative amount of antigens expressed on the cell surface are especially critical factors, because an imbalance in those two factors may result in over-bombardment of a single cancer cell with excessive numbers of immunotoxins, leaving many other cancer cells unharmed. The opposite scenario also is possible: If not enough immunotoxins bind with malignant cells, too few cells will be killed with each dose.

"Because the level of anticancer drug doses that can be given to any patient is limited by immunogenicity -- the immune response that results -- it is essential to explore how the efficacy of recombinant immunotoxins can be enhanced without resorting to escalating doses," Chen said. "Our computational research has enabled us to quantify and develop models describing many of the factors that influence immunotoxins' behavior in the body. This is essential knowledge that cancer researchers and doctors must have in order to take the next steps forward in developing immunotoxin drugs that might one day be approved as a standard treatment for cancer patients."

Kevin C. Chen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

Further reports about: Drug immunotoxin

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Clock stars: Astrocytes keep time for brain, behavior
27.03.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow

27.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Clock stars: Astrocytes keep time for brain, behavior

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Sun's impact on climate change quantified for first time

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>