Brain cancer affects 36 children in New Zealand and 250 children in Australia each year. Some of these cancers are incurable and do not respond to currently available chemotherapy agents. Even in children who survive brain tumours, their quality of life is adversely impacted by radiation and the off-target toxicity of chemotherapy. This project aims to develop therapeutics that can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a significant hindrance to delivering medicines across the brain, and specifically target cancer cells without affecting normal brain cells.
We will accomplish this by attaching novel near-infra-red light-emitting dyes possessing tumour specificity and targeting ability to various classes of chemotherapy agents. This work is carried out in collaboration with the Brain Tumour Group at the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. We will test the compounds on patient-derived paediatric brain cancer cell lines and test the most potent compounds in an animal model of paediatric brain cancer.
We have already shown that compounds of this class inhibit the growth of multiple paediatric brain cancer cell lines. In the mouse model of adult brain cancer, these therapeutics were shown to cross the BBB and specifically accumulate in tumour tissue, resulting in tumour burden reduction.
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