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Researchers at St. Petersburg’s Polytech University suggest cell technologies to fight cancer


Channel Saint-Petersburg reporter Maxim Lebedev studied the new method.

Researchers at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (Polytech for short) have suggested a method to transport anti-cancer medicine directly to tumour cells. The discovery is based on using mesenchymal stem cells and polymer microcapsules.

These images reminding of abstract pictures are photos of live micron-size cells. They are made by means of laser in complete darkness. These are special colorants that highlight our stem cells green, and polymer capsules that contain drugs red. 

Researchers at St. Petersburg’ s Polytechnic University have developed a new technology to treat cancer. Chemotherapy is one of the main method to fight the decease. But drugs that kill tumour cells are also bad for the entire organism. To avoid the harm they cause, the biologists suggest using stem cells.

Alexander Timin, a researcher at Polytech, explains: ‘These cells should migrate to the tumour thus preventing the anti-tumour drug from getting to other parts of the organism thus making it concentrate in the tumour.’

To deliver drugs to the tumour, the researchers developed special microcapsules, which act as containers for medicines that are transported by stem cells. The important thing is that the stem cells taken from the patient will find their target themselves.

Albert Muslimov, a biologist with Polytech, continues: ‘Tumour cells have small ‘thorns’ on their surface. And the stem cell has complementary ‘locks’ for those ‘thorns’. The polymer microcapsule with cytostatic in it is put into the stem cell. The cell migrates in the organism, finds the tumour and releases the drug.’

When tested, the method demonstrated that it is 50% more efficient than those implemented earlier. It allows of making treatment individual.

‘The method our colleagues have developed and demonstrated allows of making individual drugs for every individual patient, which will have a maximum effect in each unique case,’ Igor Radchenko, director of Polytech’s Multidisciplinary Research Center RASA, says.

Currently, the testing continues. In future, this technology of drug delivery could be used in treating different deceases, not only oncologic ones. 

Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel