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Nanoparticles, nanoshells, nanotubes: How tiny specks may provide powerful tools against cancer

cancer cells," Dr. Leuschner says. "Without the LHRH targeting moiety, the nanoparticle-drug construct doesn't kill the cancer cells and it's like a generally systemic chemotherapy drug."

Again, the LHRH-ironoxide-Hecate combination worked best in targeting and killing breast cancer cells, including metastatic cells.

According to Leuschner, the approach using nanoparticles has promising applications for both imaging and treatment at the same time, and might also be used to monitor treatment responses in breast cancer patients. The approach might be useful for other cancers, such as colon, lung, and ovarian, as well as for melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The next step is to design a more efficient complex. "Right now we saturated the nanoparticle, and it may not be necessary to use that much of the drug," she says. "It might help us optimize doses for tumor cell destruction and image quality, and cut costs too."

Tumor-Targeting Nanodelivery Systems: Expanding the Potential for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis (Abstract 3891)

Getting drugs to reach cancer cells once they have spread from the original site of the tumor in the body has continually frustrated physicians and researchers. But now, scientists are combining a novel kind of "nanocomplex" consisting of a microscopic, lipid-based liposome and an antibody along with gene therapy in an approach they hope will both detect and target metastatic cancer cells for destruction.

Esther H. Chang, Ph.D., at Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., and her co-workers have created a liposome nanoparticle roughly one millionth of an inch across with antibodies peppering the surface that can home in on tumor cells wherever they spread in the body. The liposome encapsulates the p53 gene, which makes a protein that helps initiate a self-destruct process called apoptosis in cells with genetic damage. The lipo
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Source:American Association for Cancer Research


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