A "smart bomb" drug delivery system which will search and destroy cancer cells within the body is being developed by Aussie researchers along with Indian scientists.
It will also have fewer side-effects than conventional chemotherapy, says Deakin University's Associate Professor Wei Duan, who heads the project in collaboration with scientists in India.
"Cancer cells are particularly difficult to kill as they contain so-called cancer stem cells, the root or seed cancer cells that are resistant to drugs," Duan said in a statement," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
"While current treatments kill the bulk of the cancer cell, the cancer root escapes the therapy and can regenerate into a new cancer mass.
"The aim of our research is to develop a smart bomb that can penetrate the cell and release the drugs within the cells, rather than from the outside, and kills the whole tumour, root and all," he added.
The molecular drug delivery system would use a technique known as RNA interference, or gene silencing, which enables control over the genes inside cells.
As of now, the scientists are developing a chemical antibody that will bind specifically to cancer cells.
Duan said that the same technique might be used to tackle neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and diabetes.
The project is a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Barwon Health's Andrew Love Cancer Centre and ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals.