Professor Dan Peer, a cancer expert from Tel Aviv University has spoken to the Times of Israel regarding a new way to treat cancer in mice that is so precise, it’s like using “tiny scissors” to target the cells. ‘This is the first study in the world to prove that the CRISPR genome editing system, which works by cutting DNA, can effectively be used to treat cancer in an animal.’ he said.
Peer’s cutting edge research was published last week in the Science Advances journal. He is hopeful that this method can one day replace chemotherapy treatments for cancer which although in many cases can be successful, has its own limitations including side effects, which can be debilitating and the potential for the cancer it treated to later return and spread.
Peer’s claims that this newly developed treatment will have no side effects. ‘There are no side effects, and we believe that a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again.’ he told the news outlet. ‘This technology can extend the life expectancy of cancer patients and we hope, one day cure the disease.’
The study concentrated on two types of cancers – glioblastoma, a contentious type of cancer that can occur in the spinal cord or the brain and metastatic ovarian cancer. ‘If we can use this technology, than within three treatments we can destroy a tumor.’ Peers explained. ‘This technology can physically cut the DNA in cancerous cells and those cells will not survive.’
The research utilizes genome-editing technology using targeted lipid nanoparticles for cancer therapy. The Israeli scientists involved with the study used the technique on hundreds of mice and Peers confirmed that the same method could possibly be used on humans within two years. They concluded that mice with cancer who received the treatment had double the life expectancy of the control group, and their survival rate was also 30 percent higher.
Peer’s concedes the promising study still needs ongoing development. ‘The technology needs to be further developed, but the main thing is we have shown that this can kill cancer cells.’ he said.