A team of researchers in IIT-Guwahati has developed a new strategy to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly to the infected cells of a cancer patient and thereby reducing side effects significantly, said the institute in a statement.
Existing chemotherapeutic drugs often kill healthy cells in the body of cancer patients which leads to numerous side effects.
IIT-Guwahati's statement said that it is believed that cancer deaths are as much due to the side effects of chemotherapy as the disease itself.
The results of this path-breaking research have been published in prestigious journals of The Royal Society of Chemistry including Chemical Communications and Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.
The research team was led by Prof. Debasis Manna, Department of Chemistry, IIT-Guwahati. He along with his research scholars Subhasis Dey, Anjali Patel, and Biswa Mohan Prusty, among others co-authored the paper.
Prof. Siddhartha Sankar Ghosh, Plaboni Sen from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, and Prof. Arindam Bhattacharyya and Soumya Chatterjee from Calcutta University are collaborators in this research work.
"There has been worldwide research ongoing to overcome the drawbacks of secondary toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs. Some strategies being explored include target-specific delivery of the drugs and on-demand delivery of appropriate drug doses to cancerous cells and tissues," an IIT-Guwahati statement said.
Prof. Debasis Manna said: "In the development of chemotherapy drugs, we had two aims -- the drug must be targeted at the cancer cells and released by an external trigger whenever required. The molecule developed by the research team has four special features."
The premier institute further said that the molecules developed by the researchers self-assemble as capsules to hold the drug, which then attaches only to cancer cells.
When infrared light is shone on it, the shell breaks and releases the encapsulated drug into the cancerous cell. The scientists rightly believe that their approach would allow the development of drug carriers for chemotherapy with enhanced efficacy and negligible side effects.
The researchers are now preparing to perform in vivo studies to take this finding closer to drug development.
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