Nagoya University oncologist Kazuhide Sato and team have tested the treatment for a rare type of malignant lung cancer and published its findings in the journal Cells. The team has worked to investigate the effectiveness of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) as a treatment strategy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM). MPM is a rare type of lung cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Though it rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but as is usually diagnosed at a later stage; this results in poor prognosis. This also leads to limited availability of treatment options.
For NIR-PIT to work, a cancer-targeting compound made of an antibody is first injected. This compound targets a specific structure on the cancer cells and a photoabsorber. When the near-infrared light is shone on the cancer affected area, the compound works to aggregate on the cell membranes. This, in turn, leads to acute cell rupture and tumor death. Kazuhide Sato says, “The lungs and chest cavity contain a large amount of air and are thus very good at effectively transmitting near-infrared light.” “NIR-PIT is a safe phototherapy option that can target a region of interest. The antibody-IR700 conjugate is also non-toxic to the body in the absence of near-infrared light irradiation. We thus thought that NIR-PIT could be an effective strategy for controlling localized MPM,” he added.
The team focused their attention on antibody called NZ-1, which targets a specific part of transmembrane glycoprotein called podoplanin. Podoplanin is generally found on many cell types in body but is particularly abundant in some types of cancer cells like MPM. Sato and his colleagues said that further studies are required to find out ways to ensure that the lung cancer treatment will not kill healthy podoplanin-positive cells.
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