The lymphoma research showed Thaxton that the HDL nanoparticle had more than one trick up its golden sleeve.
"At first I was heavily focused on developing nanoparticles that could remove cholesterol from cells, especially those involved in heart disease," Thaxton said. "The lymphoma work has broadened this focus to how the HDL nanoparticles impact both the removal and uptake of cholesterol by cells. We discovered the particles are multi-taskers."
The Northwestern study also showed that natural HDL did not kill the cells or inhibit tumor growth. The nanoparticle was essential to starve the lymphoma cell.
Detour From Heart Disease to Cancer Killer
After developing the HDL nanoparticle, Thaxton gave a lecture in 2010 to Feinberg faculty. Gordon was in the audience. He knew that patients with advanced forms of B-cell lymphoma sometimes have dropping levels of cholesterol. A long-time lymphoma researcher and oncologist, Gordon was looking for new methods to deliver drugs to patients. He contacted Thaxton and they began to collaborate.
They tested the HDL nanoparticle alone and the HDL nanoparticle transporting cancer drugs. Surprisingly, the nanoparticle without drugs was just as effective at killing the B-cell lymphoma cells.
"We thought, 'That's odd. Why don't we need the drug?'" Gordon recalled.
That's when the scientists began delving into the mechanism by which the HDL nanoparticles were sticking to the HDL recept
|Contact: Marla Paul|