Boğaziçi University Chemical Engineering Department Dr. Faculty Member Nazar İleri Ercan continues to work to develop a nano drug for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, which is ranked second among the causes of death worldwide. The research is supported within the scope of 2247 National Leading Researchers Program initiated by TÜBİTAK.
She is entitled to receive an award within the scope of the "For Women in Science" program implemented by L'Oréal Turkey and UNESCO Turkey National Commission in 2020 for her work on Rheumatoid Arthritis disease. kazanThe nano-drug research, which is planned to last three years, carried out by Nazar İleri Ercan, a young and talented Turkish woman scientist, is supported by TÜBİTAK. It is aimed to be effective on the diseased area by combining methods such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy in a single structure.
Nazar İleri Ercan, who received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from METU Chemical Engineering Department, completed his doctorate in the same field at the University of California (USA) in 2010. Working in the Chemical Engineering Department of Boğaziçi University since 2016, Dr. Faculty Member Nazar İleri Ercan new
Pancreatic cancer is the second leading cause of death
Cancer is one of the most important diseases of our age and ranks second among the causes of death worldwide. Among the cancer types, it is predicted that pancreatic cancer, which has a five-year survival rate below 10 percent, will surpass breast cancer, which is currently ranked third in cancer-related deaths, in the near future. It's a deadly type of cancer. Existing therapeutic methods are also limited. The thought as a researcher, can I find a solution to this issue led me to this study.
Less toxic, less costly, more efficient
If the disease is diagnosed in the early stages, the first preferred method is surgical removal of the tumor. However, since pancreatic cancer is a very insidious disease, it can usually be detected in the late stages. Therefore, surgical applications are unfortunately limited to only 20 percent of patients. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy separately or, if applicable, other methods used in conjunction with surgical treatment.
However, many reasons such as side effects on healthy cells, chemo-resistance and limited drug distribution limit the effectiveness of these methods. In recent years, we see that combinational therapy, in which different chemotherapy drugs are used with nanoformulation, has contributed to life expectancy. However, these and similar treatment protocols still under trial are again toxic, short-term, and quite costly.
Therefore, in the search for permanent treatment, the search for more effective, minimal toxic, and low-cost drugs continues today. Our project aims to gather methods such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which are known to be effective in the literature, in a single structure, unlike the existing therapeutic methods. For this purpose, the drug molecule derived from phytochemicals that may be less toxic will be used and researches will be made to understand the increase of the effectiveness of the drug with computational models to be developed.
Focused treatment on the diseased area with nanoparticles
Medication is a system that gathers different working mechanisms together. We will target the cytotoxic drug combination, which also has light-sensitive properties, to the diseased areas with nanoparticles used in immunotherapy. In this way, we aim to obtain a system that can only affect the diseased area and break the different resistance points of the disease.
The experiments will take two years
The experimental part of the studies includes the synthesis, characterization and testing of the nano-drug on various cells with in vitro (non-live) studies. This is a process of about 1.5-2 years. With the data we will obtain, we aim to progress with pre-clinical animal experiments. This will be a period of approximately 1-1.5 years. We will support this experimental process with computational studies that we will do during the project.