Scientists of Tomsk State University and Tomsk Scientific and Technical University in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Heidelberg and the Latvian Biomedical Research Center are developing a fundamentally new approach to the treatment of oncological diseases, the press service of the TSU reports . Its essence is to “teach” the cells present in the microenvironment of the tumor, to hinder its growth and metastasis. The Alpha-Chit project is implemented with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the international program “ERA.Net RUS plus”.
The initiator and project manager is the professor from the University of Heidelberg, Julia Kzhyshkovska, the head of the laboratory of translational cellular and molecular biomedicine, established jointly by the Tomsk State University and Tomsk National Research Medical Center (Tomsk NIIC).
The efforts of the majority of the researchers of the world oncology are aimed at finding opportunities to kill the tumor cell, but this approach has objective limitations due to the very nature of the tumor process, says the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology and Immunology at the Tomsk Scientific Research Institute of Oncology of Tomsk, the leading researcher at the Laboratory of Translational Cell and Molecular Biomedicine at TSU Nadezhda Cherdyntseva.
As the scientist notes, standard therapy, aimed only at the destruction of malignant cells, often does not lead to regression of the tumor and the cessation of metastasis, which leads to an unfavorable outcome.
The authors of the project decided to look for a new way to treat oncological diseases and went on an unprotected way of developing antitumour agents. It is based on the idea of the effect on the microenvironment of tumor cells, which can contribute to either inhibiting the progression of malignant growth.
“One of the key elements in the regulation of tumor microenvironment are macrophages,” says Nadezhda Cherdyntseva. – Tumor cells are able to program them for interaction, in which case the macrophages “work” to maintain the progression of the tumor. However, potentially these cells have all the necessary functions to prevent the growth of the neoplasm and its ability to metastasize. You just need to find a way to “include” them. “
As a tool for influencing tumor-associated macrophages, scientists intend to use a chitinase-like protein, which they discovered earlier. It suppresses the ability of macrophages to help the tumor grow. Deliver it to the problem zone with an inactivated alpha virus, which can find the target.
It is planned that a new therapeutic approach will be developed and will pass preclinical trials before the end of 2018. In the future, researchers from Russia, Germany and Latvia are going to file a joint application for funding clinical research within the framework of the program of the European Union Horizont 2020. We will add that a new way of treating oncological diseases can be used either alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
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