According to a study conducted by researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, Southwest University in China, and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Wenzhou Medical University, nano-lipids that are derived from a particular group of edible ginger can be used to effectively target and deliver chemotherapeutic drugs that are used for colon cancer treatment.
In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, and it is the second main cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. People being diagnosed with colorectal cancer have increased over the past few years, at a rate approximately equal to one million new cases every year.
For colon cancer patients non-targeted chemotherapy is the most commonly used therapeutic strategy. But the drawback of this strategy is that, it cannot differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells, so it leads to severe toxic side effects on healthy cells and poor therapeutic effects on tumor cells.
Allowing chemotherapeutic drugs to target and deliver drugs to cancer cells would be a key breakthrough in the field of colon cancer treatments.
Researchers isolated a selected portion of nanoparticle population from edible ginger (GDNP 2) and reunited their lipids in order to form ginger-derived nano-lipids, known as nanovectors. The nanovectors were modified using folic acid to create FA-modified nanovectors (FA nanovectors), obtaining accurate targeting of tumor tissues.
Folic acid displays high-affinity binding towards folate receptors that are nearly undetectable on non-tumor cells and are also highly expressed on many tumors.
Tests were conducted using FA nanovectors as a delivery platform for doxorubicin, which is a chemotherapeutic drug used to treat colon cancer. Researchers noticed that, doxorubicin could efficiently load into the FA nanovectors, and the loaded FA nanovectors were successfully taken up by the colon cancer cells.
Outstanding biocompatibility was displayed by the FA nanovectors and also tumor growth was inhibited by the FA nanovectors.
The advantage of using FA nanovectors over other commercially available drug delivery systems is that, it was able deliver the drug more instantly in an acidic pH medium that was similar to a tumor environment. This implied that, this delivery strategy would reduce the dangerous side effects of doxorubicin. Researchers presented the results in the journal Molecular Therapy.
Our results show that FA nanovectors made of edible ginger-derived lipids could shift the current paradigm of drug delivery away from artificially synthesized nanoparticles toward the use of nature-derived nanovectors from edible plants. Because they are nontoxic and can be produced on a large scale, FA nanovectors derived from edible plants could represent one of the safest targeted therapeutic delivery platforms.
Dr. Didier Merlin, Professor, Georgia State University
The first author of this study is Dr. Mingzhen Zhang from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State. The study was co-authored by Dr. Emilie Viennois, Dr. Zhan Zhang and Moon Kwon Han of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State; Dr. Bo Xiao of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State and Southwest University in Chonqing, China; and Dr. Changlong Xu of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State and Wenzhou Medical University in Wenzhou, China.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America extend support to this research work.