This method, which has yet to be tested in animals, will require more research before it might be ready for human testing, said Lapotko, faculty fellow in biochemistry and cell biology and in physics and astronomy at Rice.
The Biomaterials study due later this month reports selective genetic modification of human T-cells for the purpose of anti-cancer cell therapy. The paper, which is co-authored by Dr. Malcolm Brenner, professor of medicine and of pediatrics at BCM and director of BCM's Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, found that the method "has the potential to revolutionize drug delivery and gene therapy in diverse applications."
"The nanobubble injection mechanism is an entirely new approach for drug and gene delivery," Brenner said. "It holds great promise for selectively targeting cancer cells that are mixed with healthy cells in the same culture."
Lapotko's plasmonic nanobubbles are generated when a pulse of laser light strikes a plasmon, a wave of electrons that sloshes back and forth across the surface of a metal nanoparticle. By matching the wavelength of the laser to that of the plasmon, and dialing in just the right amount of laser energy, Lapotko's team can ensure that nanobubbles form only around clusters of nanoparticles in cancer cells.
Using the technique to get drugs through a cancer cell's protective outer wall, or cell membrane, can dramatically improve the drug's ability to kill the cancer cell, as shown by Lapotko and MD Anderson's Xiangwei Wu in two recent studies, one in Biomaterials in February and another in Advanced Materials in March.
"Overcoming drug resistance represents one of the major challenges in cancer treatment," said Wu. "Targeting plasmonic nanobubbles to cancer cells has the potential to enhance drug delivery and cancer-cell killing."
To form the nanobu
|Contact: Jade Boyd|