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Researchers Observe Improved Therapeutic Results on Tumors Treated With Communicating Nanoparticles

Published on July 19, 2011 at 2:25 AM

By Cameron Chai

Researchers of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and MIT have developed a new drug delivery system which can release a first batch of nanoparticles that selectively attaches on the tumor, and then emits a second batch of nanoparticles that gives out the cancer drug.

In a mouse study, the link between nanoparticles improved drug delivery to tumors by almost 40-times. Researchers claim that this new technique could improve effectiveness of drugs to cure cancer and other diseases. The details of the research are published in the Nature Materials journal.

Sangeeta Bhatia, a member of the MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and her colleagues developed their delivery system based on complicated biological systems in which numerous components function in unison to attain a common objective.

The team's method is dependent on a series of reactions known as the blood coagulation cascade that begins when a blood vessel is injured. Clotting substances in the blood react in a complicated manner to generate fibrin strands, which help in the loss of blood. The researchers require two types of nanoparticle for receiving and signaling in order to control the communication capabilities of the cascade.

Signaling particles, comprising the first batch, gets out of the bloodstream and reaches the tumor area through minute holes in the blood vessels that envelop the tumors. The first wave of nanoparticles gives signals to the body that an injury has taken place at a tumor site. This is achieved either by releasing heat or by attaching to a protein that begins the cascade. Proteins attached to fibrin coats the receiving particles. The second batch of receiving particles carries a drug payload, which is released at the tumor site.

Researchers conducted a study of mice; one group of nanoparticle systems released 40 times the amount of anticancer agent doxorubicin than possible with non-communicating nanoparticles. They witnessed a good therapeutic outcome on the tumors of mice undergoing treatment using communicating nanoparticles. Dr. Bhatia and her co-workers aim to change the cooperative nanosystem’s components with drugs to treat patients.

Source: http://www.cancer.gov/

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