Antibody seeks cancer cure

Melbourne: A joint team of Indian and Australian scientists claims to have achieved a breakthrough by creating an antibody which could be used for developing a "medical smart bomb" that would help seek out and eradicate the root of cancer — the stem cells.

The international project is a collaboration between Australia`s Deakin University and Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore along with Barwon Health`s Andrew Love Cancer Centre and Chem Genex Pharmaceuticals.

The team has, in fact, created the world`s first RNA aptamer, a chemical antibody that acts like a guided missile to seek out and bind only to cancer stem cells, the `Cancer Science` journal reported.

The aptamer has the potential to deliver drugs directly to the stem cells (the root of cancer cells) and also to be used to develop a more effective cancer imaging system for early detection of the disease, say the scientists.

The Director of Deakin Medical School`s Nanomedicine Program, Professor Wei Duan, said that the development of the aptamer had huge implications for the way cancer is detected and then treated.

Prof Duan said: "Despite technological and medical advances, the survival rates for many cancers remain poor, due partly to the inability to detect cancer early and then provide targeted treatment.