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Kazakhstan scientists working on "smart bombs" against cancer

20 june 2012, 12:25
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Deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Nazarbayev University, M.D. Almaz Sharman. Photo courtesy of aef.kz
Deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Nazarbayev University, M.D. Almaz Sharman. Photo courtesy of aef.kz
Scientists of the genomics laboratory of Biosciences Center of Nazarbayev University are working on the "smart bombs", the medicines able to pinpointly destroy cancer cells, deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Nazarbayev University, M.D. Almaz Sharman told KazPravda.

According to him, the genomics laboratory allows to perform a full-genome analysis of almost any cancer cell. For example, these days Kazakhstan scientists are working with Japanese oncologists on a unique method of boron neutron capture method of cancer therapy.

"The whole point of the method is that boron molecules are selectively stored in cancer cells. Directing the neutron rays at them we cause a microscopic reaction and cancer cells kind of "blow up" from the inside. This is a kind of a "microscopic neutron bomb," Sharman said. He also explained that the tests are currently being performed and a special experimental unit is being developed for an extended clinical use of this method.

Another direction developed jointly with Pittsburgh University is related to research of cancer stem cells. The scientist reminded that new medicines have been recently developed in the world based on the ability of the immune molecules to link with the molecular targets on the surface of cancer cells.

Several pharmaceutical companies have already created a range of medicines effectively helping the immune system to recognize and targetly destroy cancer. Immune therapy is being clinically tested in 27 universities. Positive results have already been received in terms of a significant decrease of the sizes of tumors in patients with lungs, kidneys and skin cancer.

According to the scientist, cancer is the second cause of mortality in Kazakhstan after cardiovascular diseases. Over 30 thousand cases of oncological diseases are discovered annually. There are currently over 144 thousand oncological patients registered in Kazakhstan.

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