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Scientists Build Nano-Sized Traps to Control Prostate Cancer Metastasis

Published on March 16, 2011 at 7:06 AM

By Cameron Chai

A team of researchers from across the world have developed nano-sized, self assembling nanomaterials made of peptides (SAP). The cultures were then used to house prostate cancer stem cells.

The team discovered that the SAP not only stopped the cancer stem cells from growing, but also prevented them from getting divided further in vitro. It was also seen that the cells began to grow and multiply when taken out of the SAP encasing.

The results of the experiments have been published in the recent issue of Cell Transplantation (20:1), The team suggested that cancer stem cells  could cause prostate tumor metastasis, causing them to become perfect targets for stopping disease metastasis. The team had earlier shown that it was possible to control the growth, spread and maturation of cells in vitro by using SAPs.  Dr. Rutledge Ellis-Behnke of the Heidelberg University-based Nanomedicine Translational Think Tank, who wrote the paper, said that it is possible to keep the cells in stasis for prolonged periods without making them to separate. The cells could be treated further if they could be held in one place and stopped from moving away.

The team said that the experiment has proved that cancer stem cells could prevail within a tumor. If certain cancer stem cells did not respond to chemotherapy drugs, then the treatment could be unsuccessful. Benign stem cells were also found to be less invasive than cancer stem cells. The metastatic cells could be prevented from spreading by injecting the substance into the tumor.

The researchers suggested that imprisoning the cancer stem cells in the nanomaterial could integrate the SAP into the chemotherapy drug and make the localized treatment more effective because it would prevent the cancer cells to escape from the chemicals. This method to treat metastatic hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), a cancer currently incurable, paves way for potential treatment options. 

Source: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/

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