A paper published in the January issue of the journal Nanomedicine could provide the foundation for a new ovarian cancer treatment option one that would use an outside-the-body filtration device to remove a large portion of the free-floating cancer cells that often create secondary tumors.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have formed a startup company and are working with a medical device firm to design a prototype treatment system that would use magnetic nanoparticles engineered to capture cancer cells. Added to fluids removed from a patient's abdomen, the magnetic nanoparticles would latch onto the free-floating cancer cells, allowing both the nanoparticles and cancer cells to be removed by magnetic filters before the fluids are returned to the patient's body.
In mice with free-floating ovarian cancer cells, a single treatment with an early prototype of the nanoparticle-magnetic filtration system captured enough of the cancer cells that the treated mice lived nearly a third longer than untreated ones. The researchers expect multiple treatments to extend the longevity benefit, though additional research will be needed to document that and determine the best treatment options.
"Almost no one dies from primary ovarian cancer," said John McDonald, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biology and chief research scientist of Atlanta's Ovarian Cancer Institute. "You can remove the primary cancer, but the problem is metastasis. A good deal of the metastasis in ovarian cancer comes from cancer cells sloughing off into the abdominal cavity and spreading the disease that way."
The removal system being developed by McDonald and postdoctoral fellow Ken Scarberry who is also CEO of startup company Sub-Micro should slow tumor progression in humans. It may reduce the number of free-floating cancer cells enough that other treatments, and the body's own immune system, could keep the disease under cont
|Contact: John Toon|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News