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A*STAR develops green tea-based "homing missiles" to kill cancer cells more effectively

By Hafeez Sim - on 8 Oct 2014, 9:34am

A*STAR develops green tea-based "homing missiles" to kill cancer cells more effectively


Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR have developed a drug delivery system which is more effective at killing cancer cells. Using a key ingredient in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the researchers have designed a nanocarrier that is actually beneficial to the body. EGCG is an antioxidant  that is used in the treatment of many disorders including cancer. The carrier is then used to carry cancer-fighting drugs, such as Herceptin, which is a protein drug used to treat breast cancer. 

One of the biggest obstacles in chemotherapy is that it's difficult for drugs to be delivered only to the tumor without accumulating in surrounding healthy tissues and organs, which could cause adverse side effects. The green tea-based nanocarriers function as homing missiles that travel to the target cells without being filtered out of the body by the immune system due to a special molecule that hides the carrier. The carrier itself therapeutic, and also enhances therapy when used together with the protein drug.

Animal studies using the nanocarrier have revealed that the green tea nanocomplex loaded with Herceptin is more effective at reducing tumor growth than adminstering Herceptin on its own. IBN is currently developing the nanotechnology for clinical applications and has also filed a patent on the nanocarrier. 

Source: A*STAR

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