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 Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>