USAL researchers successfully test in vitro a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy in cancer

Professor of Chemical Engineering Eva Martín del Valle foresees in vitro testing within two years of an aerosol against lung cancer, thanks to the aid granted by the Ramón Areces Foundation.

Now that the anti-cancer drugs have been proven effective, research is focusing on finding new treatments that minimize side effects and, above all, are more selective in eliminating cancer cells and preserving healthy cells. How to vehicle these therapies has thus become a fundamental line of assay for more direct and effective forms of targeting tumors.

In this context, the Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Salamanca, Eva Martín del Valle, a pioneer in Spain in applying this area of ​​knowledge to biomedicine, has achieved an unprecedented advance in the design of a non-toxic alternative to Chemotherapy through the use of intelligent nanocapsules capable of recognizing and applying the drug directly to tumor cells.

Thanks to the recent help received from the Ramón Areces Foundation, the USAL scientific team is trying to modify conventional chemotherapy – specifically lung cancer – by developing an aerosol that works as a conventional inhaler and includes a smart vehicle capable of recognizing only the tumor cells, thus minimizing the toxic effects. Furthermore it does not generate any type of adverse reaction in contact with lung tissue, according to the person responsible for the project.

The aerosol will also offer the patient autonomy in the administration of a conventional cycle of drugs. “What we are trying to do is to abolish the dependence of the patient who has to spend two hours undergoing treatment in a room while receiving chemotherapy”, in addition to reducing the “amount of drug used to get to specific targets”, says the person in charge of the project. This will reduce toxicity and increase efficacy, since virtually “80% of the drug supplied is not used, but has to be metabolized or expelled by the body”, Eva Martín del Valle explained.

With the new funding obtained, 120,000 euros for the next three years, the researcher estimates that in two years, “or maybe less”, they can begin to carry out in vivo tests in mice.

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