The brainiacs behind a futuristic approach to combating cancer with targeted microscopic drones say their potentially life-saving devices could only have been born in the high-tech medical hub that is Boston.
“I’m not sure it could have been produced somewhere else,” said Dr. Omid Farokhzad, a Harvard Medical School professor who helped found the Cambridge bioscience firm that created BIND-014, the cancer-fighting nanoparticle that generated so much high-tech buzz yesterday.
“We needed the Cambridge biotechs and MIT and Harvard,” Farokhzad said. “We needed the sophisticated investor base and the talented human capital to develop such a drug. There are very few places on Planet Earth that can do this as effectively as Boston can.”
To understand how BIND-014 works, think of thousands of tiny, medicine-hauling robots roaming around your body, Farokhzad said. Each chemically-coated particle is designed to evade the body’s immune system and hunt down malignant cells. Once the biodegradable plastic nanobots hit their targets, they deliver extra potent doses of docetaxel, a drug commonly used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers, and self-destruct.