Paclitaxel is a highly effective drug that is commonly used to treat breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. However, due to the high dose required, patients experience severe side effects such as muscle pain, hair loss, etc. A team of researchers led by Elena Batrakova from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, have found a way of reducing the amount of drug required to treat cancer by half. Batrakova’s team extracted exosomes, tiny spheres harvested from the white blood cells that fight infection, that are composed of cell membranes. The biggest advantage of using exosomes is that when used to deliver the medicine in the body, the patient’s body does not consider them foreign unlike the conventional plastic nanoparticles. Batrakova explains, "By using exosomes from white blood cells, we wrap the medicine in an invisibility cloak that hides it from the immune system." When this technique was tested in mouse models of drug-resistant lung cancer, it was found that the exosomes were capable of seeking out and destroying cancer cells and the drug dose required was half of what is usually administered. This would reduce the effects of chemotherapy to a great extent.
Read more in Science Daily.