Professor Alexander Binshtok is a Rosetrees Trust-funded researcher who has been receiving funding from Rosetrees Trust since 2011, for two closely-related projects, at Hebrew University Jerusalem. These projects involve the development of novel “natural” drug-delivery systems, to selectively target pain and cancer cells.
Recently, Professor Binshtok, who is head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group, and his team, have published in Frontiers in Pharmacology about their novel method for delivering chemotherapy selectively into tumour cells, sparing healthy cells. Their method exploits the targeted delivery by activating specific proteins on the surface of tumour cells which are not present on normal cells.
They have identified that tumour cells express a protein known as transient receptor potential (TRP) channel V2, and this protein can be used to specifically import chemotherapy into the tumour cells. Furthermore, the team showed that co-application of TRP activators such as cannabidiol (CBD) or 2-APB, with chemotherapy, enhanced chemotherapy uptake into tumour cells, permitting usage of lower doses of chemotherapy drugs, thus reducing their side-effects.
Professor Binshtok and his team have therefore shown that their novel method for delivering chemotherapy may be potentially used to help patients in reducing the side-effects associated with cancer treatment. Their research may also act as a platform for further development of this natural drug-delivery system to target specific cell types.
Professor Binshtok said:
“Most anti-cancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of. This leads to the many serious side-affects associated with chemotherapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step towards reducing patients’ suffering. It’s too early to make concrete predictions but we are hopeful this discovery will lead the way towards a new, more targeted delivery method for chemotherapy treatment.”
Written by: Dr. Rebecca Downing and Professor Alexander Binshtok