Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computers Used To Hone Cancer-fighting Strategies

Date:
July 7, 2008
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
Medical researchers are using high-powered computers to determine how substances known as recombinant immunotoxins can best be modified in order to attack and kill malignant tumors while doing minimal harm to a patient's healthy cells.

A graphic representation of a vascular tumor model viewed in different scales is shown.
Credit: Florida State University

A Florida State University faculty member is using computational techniques to evaluate a new class of cancer-killing drugs.

Related Articles


Kevin C. Chen, an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, is using high-powered computers to determine how substances known as recombinant immunotoxins can best be modified in order to attack and kill malignant tumors while doing minimal harm to a patient's healthy cells.

"Cancer is a disease of tremendous complexity, so the analysis and interpretation of data demands sophisticated, specialized computational methods," Chen said of his research.

Recombinant immunotoxins, Chen explained, are new drugs that are being tested in clinical trials for certain types of cancer therapy. They consist of tiny fragments of antibody proteins that are fused at the genetic level to toxins produced by certain types of bacteria, fungi or plants.

"Once injected into the body, the antibody portion of the immunotoxin targets specific proteins, called antigens, that are massively expressed on the surface of cancer cells," Chen said. "These cells are subsequently killed by the accompanying toxins. Normal, healthy cells, meanwhile, are not recognized and thus are spared."

That is the theory, at least. In practice, Chen acknowledges that numerous factors can decrease the immunotoxins' effectiveness. Among them:

*The large size of some immunotoxin molecules can hinder their ability to move to the targeted location to bind readily with cancer cell proteins, leading to efforts to reduce their size.

*The immunotoxin molecules' stability in the bloodstream and in the extracellular matrix can affect their length of time in circulation and in tumor tissues, respectively, thereby determining their effectiveness at killing the optimal number of cancer cells.

*The rate at which immunotoxins bind with malignant cells and the relative amount of antigens expressed on the cell surface are especially critical factors, because an imbalance in those two factors may result in over-bombardment of a single cancer cell with excessive numbers of immunotoxins, leaving many other cancer cells unharmed. The opposite scenario also is possible: If not enough immunotoxins bind with malignant cells, too few cells will be killed with each dose.

"Because the level of anticancer drug doses that can be given to any patient is limited by immunogenicity -- the immune response that results -- it is essential to explore how the efficacy of recombinant immunotoxins can be enhanced without resorting to escalating doses," Chen said. "Our computational research has enabled us to quantify and develop models describing many of the factors that influence immunotoxins' behavior in the body. This is essential knowledge that cancer researchers and doctors must have in order to take the next steps forward in developing immunotoxin drugs that might one day be approved as a standard treatment for cancer patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chen KC, Kim J, Li X, Lee B. Modeling Recombinant Immunotoxin Efficacies in Solid Tumors. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, March 2008

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Computers Used To Hone Cancer-fighting Strategies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702141425.htm>.
Florida State University. (2008, July 7). Computers Used To Hone Cancer-fighting Strategies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702141425.htm
Florida State University. "Computers Used To Hone Cancer-fighting Strategies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702141425.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins