Sunday, November 27, 2011

What’s New in Chemotherapy? Johns Hopkins Professor Marc Ostermeier and His Team Has Devised Protein “Switches” That Could Turn Human Cancer Cells into Tiny Chemotherapy Factories Causing Them to Self-destruct While Sparing Healthy Tissue.

Online Health Expert Medical News Flash: This novel cancer-fighting strategy and promising early lab test results from Johns Hopkins Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering were reported in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Abstract).

Marc Ostermeier’s team made this novel weapon, cancer-fighting protein “switch”, by fusing together two different proteins and successfully tested it on human colon and breast cancer cells. One protein detects a marker that cancer cells produce. The other protein, derived from yeast, can turn an inactive prodrug (drug that is in its inactive form) into a cancer-cell killer (active chemotherapy drug). “When the first part of the switch detects cancer, it tells its partner to activate the chemotherapy drug, destroying the cell,” Ostermeier said.

Normal healthy cells will also receive the prodrug but would not be able to convert it to active chemotherapy drug and thus would be spared.

Animal testing is expected to start within a year.

Source and further reading:

Wright, C., Wright, R., Eshleman, J., and Ostermeier, M. (2011) A protein therapeutic modality founded on molecular regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved on November 27, 2011 from
This article contains supporting information online at

Thank you for updating your medical knowledge at Online Health Expert.


Dr. Harish Malik

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