Australian researchers are cautiously optimistic after using nanocells to achieve what could be one of the most significant breakthroughs in asbestos-related cancer treatment in a decade.

Scientists from the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Centre have published a case report of a patient whose mesothelioma has almost entirely disappeared.

Bradley Selmon was one of ten patients in a phase-one clinical trial of a new treatment that used very small genes known as microRNA to inhibit tumour growth.

The genes were transported to the mesothelioma in his right lung using Australian-designed nanocells.

Associate Professor Glen Reid from the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) put the microRNA inside nanocells and said it was like using a Trojan horse.

“A nanocell is a delivery vehicle,” he said.

“You can package basically anything in there that you like, so a chemotherapy drug — or in our case a mini-gene — and then it’s injected into the body.”

Mr Selman’s oncologist Dr Steven Kao said he was surprised by how well the treatment worked in his patient.

“He had this quite amazing response where a lot of his cancer cannot be seen on his scan.”

Once in the lung, the nanocells delivered the microRNA to the affected lung to inhibit tumour growth.

The above excerpt is from an article published by the ABC on 15th June; you can read the full article here 

You can also watch a video on the same subject here as shown on the Today Show on 12th July