Melbourne: A joint team of Indian and Australian scientists claims to have achieved a breakthrough by creating an antibody which could be used for developing a "medical smart bomb" that would help seek out and eradicate the root of cancer — the stem cells.
The international project is a collaboration between Australia`s Deakin University and Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore along with Barwon Health`s Andrew Love Cancer Centre and Chem Genex Pharmaceuticals.
The team has, in fact, created the world`s first RNA aptamer, a chemical antibody that acts like a guided missile to seek out and bind only to cancer stem cells, the Cancer Science journal reported.
The aptamer has the potential to deliver drugs directly to the stem cells and to be used to develop a more effective cancer imaging system for early detection of the disease, say the scientists. The Director of Deakin Medical School`s Nanomedicine Program , Professor Wei Duan, said that the development of the aptamer had huge implications for the way cancer is detected and then treated.
Duan said: "The survival rates for many cancers remain poor, due partly to the inability to detect cancer early. To provide a cure for cancer we must accurately detect and eliminate the cancer stem cells."