A new 'Trojan Horse' cancer drug that disguises itself as fat and has been able to successfully trick and kill cancer cells has been developed by scientists. Scientists say the "promising" anti-cancer drug delivers chemo drug straight into tumours - with fewer side effects in mouse models. "It's like a Trojan horse," says Prof. Nathan Gianneschi, from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
The researchers explained that the news stealthy new drug-delivery system that disguises chemotherapeutics as fat in order to outsmart, penetrate and destroy tumours. The research was carried out by Northwestern University and led by Dr Nathan Gianneschi, professor in the department of chemistry.
'It's like a Trojan horse,' Professor Gianneschi said. 'It looks like a nice little fatty acid, so the tumor’s receptors see it and invite it in.
'Then the drug starts getting metabolised and kills the tumour cells.'
Stating that the drugs function as "tasty" fats, Professor Nathan Gianneschi said, ‘’It looks like a nice little fatty acid, so the tumour's receptors see it and invite it in.
"Then the drug starts getting metabolised and kills the tumour cells."
To develop the targeting system, Prof Gianneschi and his team engineered a long-chain fatty acid with two binding sites, "It's like the fatty acid has a hand on both ends: one can grab onto the drug and one can grab onto proteins.
"The idea is to disguise drugs as fats so that they get into cells and the body is happy to transport them around."
In the study, the researchers used the drug delivery system to carry a common, approved chemotherapy drug, called paclitaxel, into tumours in a small animal model. Disguised as fat, the drug entered and has been able to completely destroy the tumours in three types of cancer: bone, pancreatic and colon.