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Brigham and Women's Hospital Researchers Demonstrate a More Direct Delivery of Cancer Drugs to Tumors
Date:4/20/2009

in high concentration throughout the body in order to destroy tumor cells, translating to high toxicity and discomfort for the patient, mainly due to the effects on normal cells," said Rania Harfouche, one lead author of the study, and fellow in the Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Division at BWH. These newly engineered nanoparticles would, however, selectively target the tumor cells and predispose them to chemotherapeutic drugs. "This will allow for lower drug concentration to be used, and provide opportunity for more potent treatments with lesser side-effects for the patient."

The combination of nanoparticles and the cancer drug cisplatin proved successful in preventing the growth of cancerous skin and lung cells and also induced cell death. When researchers gave the same combination to mice with melanoma, it inhibited tumor growth and enhanced the efficacy of the cancer drug. The entire tumors regressed in fifty percent of mice, compared with none in the group receiving cisplatin and the inhibitor without nanoparticles.

In previous work, the group demonstrated that a combination of two drugs delivered with a nanoparticle could exert superior anti-cancer effects. However, most cancers converge into a few pathways for survival and uncontrolled division. "We thought a better strategy might be to target these pathways using nanoparticles, almost like shutting the escape route before exposing the cancer to the drugs," said lead author Sudipta Basu, fellow in the HST Division at BWH.

"The nanoparticles target pathways involved in multiple cancer types and can be applied to a diverse set of cancers, including hard-to-treat cancers, such as breast, pancreatic and liver cancer," noted senior study author Shiladitya Sengupta, PhD, of the Department of Medicine at BWH. "The potential to add homing beacons on the surface of the nanoparticles can increase the efficiency of selectively targeting specific t
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