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Deathstalker scorpion venom could improve gene therapy for brain cancer

Date:
August 11, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
An ingredient in the venom of the "deathstalker" scorpion could help gene therapy become an effective treatment for brain cancer, scientists are reporting. The substance allows therapeutic genes -- genes that treat disease -- to reach more brain cancer cells than current approaches, according to a new study.

An ingredient in the venom of the "deathstalker" scorpion could help gene therapy become an effective treatment for brain cancer, scientists are reporting. The substance allows therapeutic genes -- genes that treat disease -- to reach more brain cancer cells than current approaches, according to the study in ACS Nano.

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Miqin Zhang and colleagues note that gene therapy -- the delivery of therapeutic genes into diseased cells -- shows promise for fighting glioma, the most common and most serious form of brain cancer. But difficulties in getting genes to enter cancer cells and concerns over the safety and potential side effects of substances used to transport these genes have kept the approach from helping patients.

The scientists describe a new approach that could solve these problems. Key ingredients of their gene-delivery system are chlorotoxin, the substance in deathstalker scorpion venom that can slow the spread of brain cancer, and nanoparticles of iron oxide. Each nanoparticle is about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. In tests on lab mice, the scientists demonstrated that their venom-based nanoparticles can induce nearly twice the amount of gene expression in brain cancer cells as nanoparticles that do not contain the venom ingredient. "These results indicate that this targeted gene delivery system may potentially improve treatment outcome of gene therapy for glioma and other deadly cancers," the article notes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kievit et al. Chlorotoxin Labeled Magnetic Nanovectors for Targeted Gene Delivery to Glioma. ACS Nano, 2010; 100722071528046 DOI: 10.1021/nn1008512

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Deathstalker scorpion venom could improve gene therapy for brain cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811125947.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, August 11). Deathstalker scorpion venom could improve gene therapy for brain cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811125947.htm
American Chemical Society. "Deathstalker scorpion venom could improve gene therapy for brain cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811125947.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

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