Ruoslahti Lab Develops Method for Delivering Medicine Directly into a Tumor
Researchers at the Sanford/Burnham Institute for Medical Research at UCSB have identified a peptide that specifically recognizes and penetrates cancerous tumors but not normal tissues. The peptide was also shown to deliver diagnostic particles and medicines into the tumor. This new peptide, called iRGD, could dramatically enhance both cancer detection and treatment. Led by MCDB Distinguished Burnham Professor Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., this research built on Dr. Ruoslahti's previous discovery of "vascular zip codes," which showed that blood vessels in different tissues have different signatures. These signatures can be detected and used to dock drugs onto vessels inside the diseased tissue. In addition to homing in on tumor vessels, the new iRGD peptide penetrates them to bind inside the tumor. The work is being published in the journal Cancer Cell.