Extracellular vesicle drug occupancy enables real-time monitoring of targeted cancer therapy
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A simple blood test can reveal within 24 hours of starting a targeted cancer therapy whether it is having its desired effect or not.
Cancer therapies have come a long way. Conventional chemotherapies assail all rapidly growing cells in the body, giving rise to a wide range of side effects. In contrast, targeted cancer therapies attack specific molecules.
But monitoring whether these targeted therapies are working usually involves using imaging techniques several weeks after commencing a therapy or performing invasive biopsies.
Now, a nanotechnology platform developed by a team of National University of Singapore researchers can rapidly assess the progress of targeted cancer therapies from just a small blood sample taken from a patient.
The method involves analysing the contents of globules in the blood called extracellular vesicles. If they contain high levels of the drug, it indicates the therapy is being effective.
The researchers hope to make the technology commercially available within three years.
- Nature Nanotechnology 16, 734–742 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41565-021-00872-w