Cancer Drug Platform Targets Tumors, Spares Normal Tissue
In this study, cancer imaging experts devised a method that combines diagnosis with therapy. This method, known as theranostic imaging, enables the investigator to fingerprint a tumor based on its genes as well as to personalize treatment and minimize damage to normal tissue.
As proof-of-principle, the investigators developed a nanoplex platform for theranostic imaging of prostate cancer (PCa). For its diagnostic component, the platform images the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) to allow detection of prostate cancer cells, while for the therapeutic component, it delivers a small interfering RNA (siRNA) along with a prodrug enzyme to PSMA-expressing tumors.
To verify the capabilities of the non-invasive imaging platform, the investigators performed studies on human prostate cancer cells and tumors in which the expression of choline kinase (Chk) was decreased by siRNA, and a nontoxic prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to cytotoxic 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) converted.
“The nanoplex was well-tolerated and did not induce liver or kidney toxicity or a significant immune response,” the investigators wrote. “This platform can be easily modified and applied to different cancers, receptors, and pathways to achieve theranostic imaging, as a single agent or in combination with other treatment modalities.”