A recent Show Me Mizzou article discussed ‘click’ chemistry, and how it could lead to more efficient delivery of radioactive cancer treatments to reduce side effects. Back in September, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to researchers who developed the concept in which molecules snap together like LEGOs. Next, a researcher at the University of Missouri successfully used click chemistry to efficiently deliver drugs to tumors in large dogs with bone cancer.
When attacking a cancerous tumor with the immune system, antibodies are typically used to deliver the radioactive payload. However, antibodies are large molecules that circulate in the bloodstream, which can negatively impact organs, bone marrow, and the liver. The concept of click chemistry was successfully tested in mice, but chemists assumed the strategy wouldn’t work on larger mammals like dogs or humans because their bodies may be too big for the two sides of the therapeutic molecules to find each other and ‘click’ together. The successful canine tests earned the MU College of Veterinary Medicine over $14 million in federal research funding from the NIH, and gives hope for a human application. The peer-reviewed, published study can be seen here.