Selective Tumor Treatment: &#914-Galactosidase Releases Active Agent From Prodrugs, University of Poitiers Study

Published: Oct 10, 2012

One of the largest challenges of chemotherapy lies in the fact that cancer cells must be killed while healthy tissue must be protected. French researchers have now introduced a new approach in the journal Angewandte Chemie: The enzyme ß-galactosidase releases the active drug from an inactive precursor, known as a prodrug, which can only be taken up by tumor cells. A number of tumor-specific markers have been found over the years. These are receptors that are commonly found in the cell membranes of tumor cells but are absent from or rare on the surfaces of healthy cells. Previously, researchers have mostly used antibodies directed toward these receptors to deliver drugs selectively to tumor cells. The disadvantages of this method are not only the high cost and difficult development and production, but also the inherent risk of undesired immune responses.

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