The researchers have already been able to prove the efficacy of their approach in laboratory tests. "We utilized both a cervical cancer strain (HeLa) and cancer of the large intestine (HCT116) for our in-vitro tests. They each react very differently to doxorubicin. HCT116 cells are sensitive to the substance, in contrast to HeLa cells. We ran the experiments with pharmacologically relevant dosages, used by clinicians. The doxorubicin was added to the cell cultures both directly and encapsulated in the nano-carriers," explains Dr. Joachim Storsberg. He developed the new therapy jointly with Dr. Christian Schmidt and Nurdan Dogangzel from IAP in close collaboration with colleagues from the pharmaceutical sciences, Prof. Mont Kumpugdee-Vollrath and Dr. J. P. Krause from Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.
Making chemotherapy more tolerable
The results from the laboratory tests: after three days, 43.3 percent of the HeLa cells survived a dose of unencapsulated, 1 micromolar (M) doxorubicin. When the active agent was introduced via encapsulated vesicles, only 8.3 percent of the malignant HeLa cells survived. "The pharmaceutical substance in the nano-envelopes was fives times more effective," says Storsberg. This could also be observed in the tests with the intestinal cancer cells: in this experiment, 46.5 percent of the HCT116 cells survived a dose of 0.1 M doxorubicin after two days, while only 13.3 percent of the malignant tumor cells failed to be eliminated by administering the active agent in encapsulated form. "With nanoparticles as carriers, a more effective and simultaneously lower dosage is possible. This way, and with a targeted delivery of the active agent, the healthy cells are are likely to be spared and the side effects will be minimized," says Storsberg. An additional test result: the enc
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