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A. A "Smart Bomb" Cancer Therapy

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are developing a less toxic therapy for breast cancer. John Park, a professor of medicine, says the therapy combines the use of liposomes - small, synthetic particles that carry anti-cancer drugs - along with antibodies that seek out cancer cells.

Park: What our research is about is to take antibodies and physically join them to liposomes. So now you have immunoliposomes. So again, these are liposomes containing drugs which now can target or seek out cancer cells because of the antibody component that's attached to them.

Narrator: This way, the rest of the body's healthy cells can be spared the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

Park: Unfortunately a lot of tissues in the patient are sensitive to the same mechanism of action of the drugs, particularly cells in the bone marrow and the blood cells are very susceptible. Certain chemotherapies also affect the heart. So, instead of having the drugs go throughout the body and have these unfortunate effects, the drugs are all in the liposomes and the liposomes are directed to the cancer cell by the antibody.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.