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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » November 29, 2012
The Polish Science Voice
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November 29, 2012   
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When a patient has cancer, the doctors routinely prescribe chemotherapy. The basic method for treating cancer, chemotherapy is based on administering large doses of drugs containing chemicals designed to kill cancer cells. However, the problem is that this kind of treatment does not always work because the body’s own proteins—known as barrier proteins—sometimes remove the anticancer drug from cancer cells after recognizing drug ingredients as foreign material.

This phenomenon has been widely studied by scientists around the world because it is a key cause of failed treatment. Polish researchers from the Department of Molecular Biophysics at the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection of the University of £ód¼, led by Prof. Grzegorz Bartosz, are working to find a way to “persuade” barrier proteins not to attack anticancer drugs but let them stay in the cancer cells and destroy them from inside.

The £ód¼ researchers are studying barrier proteins as part of a zl.62-million project designed to increase the effectiveness of treatment and significantly reduce its costs. The project also involves something that we at The Polish Science Voice pay special attention to: a strengthening of the ties between science and business, and putting research results to commercial use.

Meanwhile, in another project involving cancer, a group of researchers at the Medical University of £ód¼, working in collaboration with experts from biotechnology company Mabion, have developed two innovative biotech drugs to fight breast cancer and lymphoma. Their project is part of worldwide efforts to come up with more effective ways of combating these tumors.

Unlike standard chemotherapy, biotech drugs are far less harmful to the patient, the researchers say. However, most biotech drugs available internationally carry a steep price tag and many patients in Poland cannot afford them. The Polish drugs are expected to be less expensive.

The research team, led by Prof. Tadeusz Pietrucha, who heads the Department of Medical Biotechnology at the Medical University of £ód¼, began working on the drugs in 2008. Some time later they teamed up with the Mabion biotechnology company to develop the project, which is now at the clinical trial stage. The venture is another example of public funds well spent.

This issue of The Polish Science Voice also reports on simulators for training truck and bus drivers developed by Polish company ETC-PZL Aerospace Industries from Warsaw. Simulators are indispensable for training pilots and drivers. They are also used by various uniformed forces, including the army and police.
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