A research team led by Masaaki Tamura of Kansas State University in partnership with University of Kansas scientists is working on developing a patient-friendly lung cancer treatment process using nanoparticles.
The research team is investigating on peptide nanoparticle-based gene therapy, a method of curing diseases through the introduction of therapeutic genes. Tamura has discovered the prospective safer treatment in cationic peptide nanoparticles, which can transfer a critical gene known as angiotensin II type 2 receptor that helps in protecting cardiovascular tissue. By fixing this receptor gene with peptide nanoparticles, Tamura has attempted to develop a treatment method that is directed only to cancer cells without causing any damage to healthy cells.
The receptor genes having the nanoparticles reach only cancerous tissues because their blood vessels are extremely weak. The nanoparticles assist the receptor gene to destroy the cancer cells and the immune system is then activated to stop the growth of cancer. The peptide nanoparticle-based gene therapy can also be used for the treatment of cancerous cells by delivering the receptor gene straightaway into these cells.
If the scientists could design a special spray that has the peptide, the device could deliver the peptide directly into the lungs. Passing through the lungs is noninvasive and facilitates the peptide to penetrate the circulatory system and then to other cancerous tissue.
Cory Berkland-led research team at the University of Kansas developed the cationic peptide, which has been assessed, tested and developed into the peptide nanoparticle therapy by the Tamura team. For the past three years, the two teams have been involved in this project.