June, 2016

While chemotherapy can be a life safer, it is also famously brutal on patients. Improved targeting and containment of chemo agents is one approach to limit the side effects of the medication, but another is being investigated by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. They’ve been developing a material that could serve as a filter, positioned downstream of the tumor to remove chemotherapy drugs before they travel to the rest of the body. The idea for the so-called ChemoFilter originally came from Dr. Steven Hetts, a professor of radiology at UC San Francisco, but realizing it has required development of a new technology for the filtration method.

Some chemo drugs, such as the widely used doxorubicin, carry a positive charge.  To attract them, the material for the filter consists of two polymers, one of which has a negative charge. In a study involving a porcine model, the ChemoFilter was able to reduce the maximum concentration of doxorubicin by about 85% throughout the body.

The next steps will involve improving the filtration capabilities of the filter, and there’s already work on using DNA as binding molecules to attract different kinds of chemo molecules. Perhaps there’s potential for filtering other things, such as pathogens and antibiotics.

Source: Berkeley Lab…


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