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Taking Aim With Nanoparticle PEBBLEs

deliver to cancer cells is too unstable to wander off and damage healthy cells, so only targeted cells are affected. Including molecules that make PEBBLEs more visible in MRI images provides an added bonus, helping to show where tumors are located and how they respond to treatment.

In recent experiments with a small number of rats that had a type of brain cancer called 9L-gliosarcoma, PEBBLE-based treatment significantly increased survival time. People who get that type of cancer usually live less than four months without treatment; rats die within about five days. When Kopelman's group treated rats with PEBBLEs that weren't even tailored to home in on cancer cells, the rats lived twice as long. With targeted PEBBLEs, some rats were still alive and active two months later, and MRI images showed that their tumors had vanished.

Kopelman and coworkers plan to tinker with the PEBBLEs a bit more before trying them on larger numbers of rats, and PEBBLE-based cancer treatments for people are a long way off. But "there's no doubt," said Kopelman, "that nanoparticles such as PEBBLEs can do a fantastic job for therapy, diagnostics and a combination of the two."

Kopelman's collaborators on the work he will discuss in San Diego are Martin Philbert, professor of toxicology and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Public Health; Brian Ross, a professor of biological chemistry and of radiology in the Medical School; Alnawaz Rehemtulla, an associate professor of environmental health sciences, radiation oncology and radiology with joint appointments in the Medical School and the School of Public Health; and Yong-Eun Lee Koo, a research associate in the chemistry department, College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

To date, the researchers have received $11.5 million from the National Cancer Institute for their work with PEBBLEs.

Related links:

* Raoul Kopelman (http://ipumich.temppublish.com/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?b
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Source:University Of Michigan


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