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Scientists can predict nano drug outcome
Date:2/5/2009

Scientists including one from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston successfully predicted the outcome of a nano drug on breast tumors in a pre-clinical study. Their research could help determine which patients will respond best to cancer-fighting nano drugs.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University also participated in the study, which appears in the February issue of Radiology.

The investigators used contrast agents encapsulated in tiny fat bubbles called liposomes to determine if breast tumors in rodents could be breached by liposomes loaded with a cancer drug called liposomal doxorubicin. The liposomes were administered intravenously.

When scientists X-rayed the rodents, the investigators received good images of porous breast tumors which had absorbed the contrast agents. On the other hand, poor images indicated the contrast agents had not substantially penetrated the tumor. When liposomal doxorubicin was administered, it was associated with better therapeutic results in the tumors with superior images.

"We can tell if the animals are candidates for the treatment or not," said Ananth Annapragada Ph.D., one of two senior authors and an associate professor at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.

Higher uptake of the probe by the tumor, indicating leakier vasculature, was associated with a slower tumor growth rate, suggesting a better therapeutic outcome with liposomal doxorubicin, the authors wrote. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter and a liposome is about 100 nanometers.

Nano drugs for cancer like liposomal doxorubicin are designed to increase the amount of drug reaching tumors. Currently, when an intravenous cancer drug is administered, very little reaches its intended target. The remaining drug circulates in the bloodstream and can cause side effects.

Liposomes carrying drugs infiltrate leaky
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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3042
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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