Making chemotherapy for breast cancer more targeted via a ‘Trojan Horse’
Chemotherapy is not able to be used effectively to treat metastatic and triple negative breast cancers because the toxic treatment can’t differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells, and causes harmful side-effects. Usually prescribed doses are not strong enough to completely eradicate the tumours throughout the body.
In this project Dr Pegah Varamini will investigate attaching a carrier to the active drug molecule to help it identify the difference between normal and cancer cells and only release the drug inside tumour cells. This modification should allow the dosage to be increased until the tumour is completely destroyed.
Her investigation will look at linking the carrier (LHRH) to a potent anticancer agent (MMAE) which can specifically bind to breast cancer cells and deliver the antitumor agent directly to those cells. This will enhance the efficacy of the treatment and minimises damage to the healthy tissue so there will be a lower risk of relapse and metastasis to other tissues.
The proposed antitumor targeted delivery system will bring hope to the patients who suffer from all types of breast cancer but also the challenging types of breast cancer which have limited treatment options and generally poor prognosis and low survival of breast cancer.
In particular it will be significant in the treatment of triple negative tumours that do not express oestrogen/progesterone/HER2 receptors, and can become resistant to the therapeutic agents that target these receptors.