At the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion, a new approach to cancer treatments is presented: combining drugs at the nanometer level within metasynergy - biological and chemical synergy
A model developed in the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion - "medicinal meta-synergy" - was found to be effective in a pre-clinical trial Researchers at the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion present a new approach to cancer treatments: combining drugs at the nanometer level within meta-synergy - biological and chemical synergy.
The research published in the Journal of Controlled Release was led by PhD student Dana Miron Azagouri, Dr. Yossi Shamai and Ben Friedman Glick, a master's degree student.
Cancer is a general name for a group of diseases characterized by accelerated and uncontrolled cell division. The chemotherapy treatments for cancer were already developed more than 80 years ago and since then they have undergone considerable improvements, and alongside them new treatments have been developed including radiation, immunotherapy and biological treatments. One of the accepted approaches in cancer treatment today is a combination of drugs - a synergy of different drugs. The controlled use of several drugs at the same time creates an effect that exceeds the sum of its parts, that is, the cumulative benefit of the various drugs, and may also prevent the tumor from developing resistance to treatment. The Technion researchers took the synergistic concept a step further and present in their article a new approach: medicinal meta-synergy. According to Dr. Shamai, "by the term meta-synergy we mean that the molecules we developed demonstrate biological and chemical synergy at the same time. In other words, they not only achieve the desired (biological) healing effect when combined with each other, but also know how to connect together in a process of self-assembly out of chemical synergy.
In addition, the aforementioned combination reduces the side effects of the drug." The computational model developed by the researchers predicts the chemical-biological synergy of various drug combinations and their therapeutic effectiveness, based on computational learning and information mining from the professional literature. The model, which as mentioned predicts not only the medical effectiveness but also the metasynergy between the different drug particles, provided 1,985 "recipes" for nanometric synergistic drugs for 70 types of cancer. approved for blood cancers, the other is approved for liver, kidney and thyroid cancers) exhibits chemical stability, high levels of efficacy, efficient distribution in the body and a low level of toxicity. Following this conclusion, they tested the effectiveness of this combination in head and neck cancer in an animal model and demonstrated that their prediction works - the said combination is indeed effective, spreads well in the body and its level of toxicity is low, which is reflected in the few side effects.
Surprisingly, when injecting each drug individually, there are more side effects than injecting the combination self-assembled into particles. Creating meta-synergy at the nanometer level is a very complex challenge," explains Dr. Shamai, "because it requires the introduction of two drugs (at least) into the same carrier that takes them to the desired destination in the body. Our research shows, both in the computational demonstration (chemo-informatics and artificial intelligence) and in an experiment in an animal model, that the combination we created indeed leads the drugs to the tumor and releases them there and that this treatment is very effective in treating the disease. Beyond the specific combination we demonstrated in the article, we believe that the concept of meta-synergy is expected to lead to further breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.
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