I feel like I see a new treatment for cancer every month that seems extremely promising and yet I've never heard them brought up again. Does it take that long to see if it works for humans or do they all just fail? It boggles my mind that there isn't an established fure yet for at least a few kinds of cancer at this point.
For the record I understand human trials take a long time before anything is approved to go to market, but I remember hearing stories like this years ago and still never a follow up as to whether it went as expected or if it failed completely (or anything inbeween).
So this seems like a very promising treatment, but it isn't perfect. So the treatment doesn't find cancer cells, it is a lipid-membrane with a cellular "factory" that contains the ability to create a protein that destroys the cell. The significance of this is that it only creates the protein when it detects that it is inside a cancer cell (how it does this the article didn't say). The issue arises because it seems like this membrane incorporates itself into any cell it can, not just cancer cells and we need to know what the implications of that might be. Overall incredible idea and props to the team that made this happen. I can't imagine all the work that went into designing and creating this.
The title of the post is a cut and paste from the first paragraph of the linked popular press article here:
> Like the horse of Troy, scientists at the Technion have developed a way to sneak synthetic cells right into tumor tissue, where they then begin producing cancer-fighting proteins from the inside. The technique was tested in both cell cultures and in mice, and found to be an effective treatment in both cases.
For those interested here is a link to the academic press release:
N. Krinsky, M. Kaduri, A. Zinger, J. Shainsky-Roitman, M. Goldfeder, I. Benhar, D. Hershkovitz, A. Schroeder,
Synthetic Cells Synthesize Therapeutic Proteins inside Tumors
Adv. Healthcare Mater. 2017, 1701163.
> Synthetic cells, artificial cell-like particles, capable of autonomously synthesizing RNA and proteins based on a DNA template, are emerging platforms for studying cellular functions and for revealing the origins-of-life. Here, it is shown for the first time that artificial lipid-based vesicles, containing the molecular machinery necessary for transcription and translation, can be used to synthesize anticancer proteins inside tumors. The synthetic cells are engineered as stand-alone systems, sourcing nutrients from their biological microenvironment to trigger protein synthesis. When pre-loaded with template DNA, amino acids and energy-supplying molecules, up to 2 × 107 copies of green fluorescent protein are synthesized in each synthetic cell. A variety of proteins, having molecular weights reaching 66 kDa and with diagnostic and therapeutic activities, are synthesized inside the particles. Incubating synthetic cells, encoded to secrete Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE) with 4T1 breast cancer cells in culture, resulted in killing of most of the malignant cells. In mice bearing 4T1 tumors, histological evaluation of the tumor tissue after a local injection of PE-producing particles indicates robust apoptosis. Synthetic cells are new platforms for synthesizing therapeutic proteins on-demand in diseased tissues.