Getting through the matrix

The best cancer drugs in the world are not much good if they cannot get to tumor cells. That problem has been challenging cancer physicians and researchers for years because the physical structure of many tumors can prevent anticancer agents from reaching their targets. In a study appearing in the June issue of Nature Medicine, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) describe a new technique for assessing the permeability of tumors and a promising new way of improving tumors’ accessibility to drugs.

Ultrasound chemotherapy could cut side-effects, improve treatment

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often endure painful side effects caused by the powerful drugs as they course through their entire bodies, damaging healthy tissue and tumors alike. Utah researchers are reporting in the December issue “Cancer Research” that they have successfully tested a new method in laboratory animals that would concentrate the impact of cancer drugs on specific cancerous tissues, thus sparing the rest of the body from harm.

Cancer drug ‘smart bomb’ on horizon

Today, even the best cancer treatments kill about as many healthy cells as they do cancer cells. But a St. Louis researcher has begun to lay the conceptual and experimental groundwork for a new strategy for chemotherapy — one that turns existing drugs into medicinal “smart bombs.” The approach is essentially a sophisticated drug releasing system, one that can recognize and use cancerous DNA sequences as triggering mechanisms for the drugs that fight them.