Cancer treatment has been boosted by a drug that is capable of killing tumours without impacting healthy cells, something that is notoriously difficult to do.
Researchers at the University of Illinois identified a cell delivery process that employs liposomes to convey drugs to the targeted cell.
Delivery has been the most difficult aspect of treatment to develop and now researchers have identified short strands of DNA or RNA called aptamers to bind to cancer cells and deliver anti-cancer drugs while leaving healthy cells alone.
Tests to assess the effectiveness of aptamers were promising, with 59.5 per cent of breast cancer cells destroyed using this particular system.
Dr Jianjun Cheng, who was co-principal investigator on the study with Dr Gerard Wong and Professor Yi Lu, commented: "You can change aptamers to target a different type of cancer, you can change the therapeutic molecules to fight cancer or other diseases, and you can reverse the dose.
"That's a lot of tools in the toolbox. It has great potential."
A report by Cancer Research UK has revealed that stomach cancer cases have halved in the UK.