Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with high mortality rates and few treatment options. Liposomes armed with a combination of molecular tools for killing tumor cells, have been presented as a new nanomedical approach to treating pancreatic tumors. The therapy involves intravenous injections of liposomes carrying a gene known to kill cancer cells, a promoter, and other molecules involved in gene expression. The treatment effectively destroyed pancreatic tumors in mice, in pre-clinical tests, while leaving healthy tissues intact.
Crucial to the success of the treatment was the specificity of the liposomes, which circulate until they find a cancerous cell, to which they attach themselves before beginning the cascade of lethal molecular events. The work, performed by scientists and doctors at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was reported by Science Daily and is published in the journal Cancer Cell (Targeted Expression of BikDD Eradicates Pancreatic Tumors in Noninvasive Imaging Models, Cancer Cell, Vol 12, 52-65, July 10, 2007). The next step in development of this treatment is FDA approval for a full clinical trial.