Now a joint US-Israeli team has discovered quite by accident a new treatment for this disease:
An Israeli-American research team has stumbled onto a new and interesting find - a non-radiation based therapy that may provide relief for an aggressive and hard to treat breast cancer cell known as HER2+, but which could also have wider applications for treating all kinds of cancer.Not only is this a breakthrough for Breast Cancer research, but it seems that this type of treatment will also work on the #1 killer of both men and women: Heart Disease. And they just stumbled upon this.
Prof. Zeev Gross, from the Technion / Israel Institute of Technology has played no small role in the new research paper that shows positive results for the new non-radiation based therapy based on the chemical compound gallium corroles.
Published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Israel-U.S. team, including scientists from the California Institute of Technology and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center were able to show positive pre-clinical results on the new treatment that homes in on HER2+.
Using a new-to-science organic chemical called a corrole, described about 10 years ago, Gross was able to develop a powerful method that synthesizes these chemicals for practical use in medicine. From being able to make a couple of milligrams in two years, Gross' team could produce two grams in two days.
The beauty of the new chemical compound, waiting for an investment in order to go to clinical trials, is that it not only works in diagnostics, lighting up and showing doctors where the cancer cells are, it is also somehow able to kill the cancer at the same time. Gross has also found it works for treating arterial sclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which leads to heart disease.
"We started in cancer wanting to take advantage of a property of this compound," Gross tells ISRAEL21c. "They are highly florescent and we wanted to use them to detect cancer. We found at the cellular level [gallium corroles were] useful for imaging, but also found it could kill cancer with high specificity and could be an alternative to chemotherapy.
"We were surprised," he continues. "It could be used for selective killing of cancer cells. Focusing on breast cancer cells, our collaborators developed a vector, a virus based gene delivery protein, and we said let's use it for corroles."
Testing this idea, the researchers were pleased to see the dual effects of this chemical. Gross explains: "In most cases, if people want to get a closer look at a drug in vivo, they have to attach a fluorescent probe to it - and that turns it into a different molecule.
"But in our case, the active molecule we're tracking does the fluorescing. We get to track the original, unmodified molecule and are hence able to follow its distribution among different organs in live animals."
In the new study the international team combined a gallium corrole with a protein carrier so that the corrole would show an affinity to cancer cells. According to the researchers, when tried on mice with breast cancer, it became a targeted cancer therapy able to both detect and eliminate tumors in mice. They report fewer side effects compared to other breast cancer treatments.
The Technion lab's senior scientist Dr. Atif Mahammed, an Israeli Arab is "a leading figure in this whole project," says Gross, who says his lab is also enriched with a team of gifted scientists from the former Soviet Union.
Funding for the research was provided by the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, the National Science Foundation in the US, the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Defense, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Donna and Jesse Garber Award, the Gurwin Foundation, and the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
Read the full story here.
I wonder how many other diseases this treatment will be applied to with the same results.
And for those who wish to boycott Israeli goods, here is another item to put on your list.