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Work with nanoparticles at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine may result in the improved treatment of advanced lung cancer.
Rajagopal Ramesh, a physician and Oklahoma TSET Cancer Research Scholar with the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, was a lead investigator in a Phase I clinical trial that tried a new approach to treating lunch cancer. It was targeted toward patients who had exhausted other forms of treatment with no noticeable improvement. The new research involved the reintroduction of a Tumor Suppressor Gene, known as TUSC2, into lung cancer cells.
"The idea was, if we reintroduce this TUSC2 gene into lung cancer cells, then the gene would express the protein in the cancer cells and make the cells either stop dividing and growing, or make them die,” Ramesh said.
While not a cure, it was delivered intravenously to 31 patients over a period of months with what researchers called “encouraging results.”
Ramesh said the treatment is less expensive than other cancer therapies and he believes it can help those who have had little or no success with other therapies. While not a “magic bullet,” he said work remains to be done.
"Realistically speaking, we are saying that this is something which might work, and this is something that doesn't hurt, and this is something that doesn't really cost the patient much,” Ramesh said.
The phase I trial was conducted at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. It was supported in part by grant funding to Ramesh from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health and research findings appear in a recent issue of the online medical journal PLoS ONE.