Here is how the cancer treatment works: The receptor gene containing the nanoparticles spreads to only cancer tissue since the blood vessels in cancer tissues are flimsy. The nanoparticles help the receptor gene kill the cancer cells. The immune system is then stimulated to prevent the cancer from growing back.
"This is very exciting because our own immune system can prevent cancer growth," Tamura said.
While the receptor gene works well for tumors that are easier to reach in the body, cancers that are deep within the body, such as gastric or pancreatic cancers, are more difficult to treat. Sometimes the gene needs help targeting and reaching the cancerous cells. That's where the peptide comes in. It can guide the receptor gene directly to the cancer cells so treatment can begin.
Working with lungs also provides a special advantage. If the researchers can develop some sort of spray that contains the peptide, it can help the peptide go straight into the lungs. It's noninvasive to go through the lungs and makes it easier for the peptide to enter the circulatory system and travel to other cancerous tissue.
The cationic peptide was developed by a KU research team led by Cory Berkland, an associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. After developing the peptide, they turned to Tamura and his team for help evaluating, testing and developing the peptide nanoparticle therapy. The two schools have been working together on the project for three years. Researchers hope to develop their targeted peptide procedure into a treatment that humans can use.
"It has really been nice for the two schools to work together on this project because Kansas is such a hotbed for the biomedical industry right now," Tamura said.
Tamura is also involved in Kansas State University research o
|Contact: Masaaki Tamura|
Kansas State University