A Velcro-type protein that anchors a cancer-killing drug inside the tumor could open the door to safer and more effective cancer treatments.
Cytokine proteins show promise as a cancer treatment, but the proteins themselves can damage healthy tissue as well. To help keep the medicine in place, the team from MIT created a Velcro-type lock for the therapeutic protein that relies on lumican and collagen. Lumican binds with cytokine as well as collagen—of which there is a great deal more of in tumors--safely keeping the medication contained within.
In tests on laboratory mice, the cytokine/lumican therapy increased the animals’ survival rate by up to 90 percent.