Scientists at the University of Tokyo (Japan) have made a breakthrough in the fight against cancer using artificial DNA.
In a new study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a Japanese research group has created a new method that successfully kills cervical cancer and breast cancer cells.
In laboratory tests, the team designed a pair of chemically synthesized DNA, shaped like hairpins, specifically to kill cancer cells. When injected into cancer cells, the DNA pairs attached to microRNA (miRNA) miR-21 molecules that are overproduced in certain cancers.
The DNA pairs, upon attaching to the miRNA, unraveled and combined, forming longer chains of DNA that activated an immune response. This response not only eliminated the cancer cells but also prevented the continuation of cancerous growth.
Thus, the artificial DNA will act as an immunotherapy-based cancer drug. It does not directly attack the diseased cells, but helps the patient’s immune system to strengthen itself enough to prevent the development of the disease.
Immunotherapy – the cancer treatment is a growing trend in recent years. It takes advantage of the human immune system to slow growth, improve the immune system to help destrop cancer cells more effectively, and have fewer side effects than traditional methods.
Professor Akimitsu Okamoto, one of the study’s lead authors, shared “We thought that if we can create new drugs that work by a different mechanism of action from that of conventional drugs, they may be effective against cancers that have been untreatable up to now”.
This innovative approach stands apart from traditional cancer drug treatments and is hoped to usher in a new era in drug development.
Reference: A Completely New Way To Kill Cancer: Artificial DNA (scitechdaily.com)