New Paradigm for Killing Deep-Seated Tumors without Harming Normal Tissue
Scintillators in the form of a nanosized crystal are both the delivery vehicle and drug-activating structure of the GCT Scintillating NanoCrystals platform. The “scintillators” are nanosized spheres comprising nontoxic minerals and rare earth elements. These infinitesimally tiny Scintillating NanoCrystals are just 50 nanometers (nm) in diameter.
Cancer drug molecules are linked to Scintillating NanoCrystals. Because the drug molecules are physically linked (bound) to the Scintillating NanoCrystals, they are inactive, locked into position, and cannot behave as drug molecules unless and until they are “unlinked” from the Scintillating NanoCrystals. When the Scintillating NanoCrystals are excited by even a very low dose of externally administered radiation, they fluoresces (”light up”), breaking their linkers that bind the drug molecules to them and, as a result, the previously inactive drug molecules become active at the tumor.
The Scintillating NanoCrystals platform was invented by scientists at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center and is licensed exclusively to GCT. The invention of Scintillating NanoCrystals took three years to develop at UCSD. Proof of concept was certified by Dr. Stephen Derenzo, one of the world’s foremost radiation dosimetrists, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“Scintillating NanoCrystals could represent a whole new paradigm for fighting cancer more safely and more effectively. Clinicians will potentially be able not only to control when but where a drug is activated in a patient. The idea is to activate the drug right at the tumor, and nowhere else... avoiding toxicity while delivering a lethal payload of drug,” says Milan Makale, PhD, Faculty Scientist, Moores Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego (UCSD), San Diego, California. Dr. Makale is also GCT’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
Caution: The company’s Scintillating NanoCrystals are in the preclinical development stage and not approved for human use at this time.