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Changing shape makes chemotherapy drugs better at targeting cancer cells
Date:2/27/2013

(Santa Barbara, Calif. ) Bioengineering researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have found that changing the shape of chemotherapy drug nanoparticles from spherical to rod-shaped made them up to 10,000 times more effective at specifically targeting and delivering anti-cancer drugs to breast cancer cells.

Their findings could have a game-changing impact on the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies and reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, according to the researchers. Results of their study were published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Conventional anti-cancer drugs accumulate in the liver, lungs and spleen instead of the cancer cell site due to inefficient interactions with the cancer cell membrane," explained Samir Mitragotri , professor of chemical engineering and Director of the Center for BioEngineering at UCSB. "We have found our strategy greatly enhances the specificity of anti-cancer drugs to cancer cells."

Changing Shape Makes Chemotherapy Drugs Better at Targeting Cancer Cells from UCSB Engineering on Vimeo.

To engineer these high-specificity drugs, they formed rod-shaped nanoparticles from a chemotherapeutic drug, camptothecin, and coated them with an antibody called trastuzumab that is selective for certain types of cancer cells, including breast cancer. The antibody-coated camptothecin nanorods were 10,000-fold more effective than tratsuzumab alone and 10-fold more effective than camptothecin alone at inhibiting breast cancer cell growth.

"This unique approach of engineering shapes of anti-cancer drugs and combining them with antibodies represents new direction in chemotherapy," Mitragotri added.

Mitragotri and collaborators at UCSB, including post-doctoral researchers Sutapa Barua and Jin-Wook Yoo, and former graduate student Poornima Kolhar, looked to human breast cancer cells to examine how shape works in synergy with molecular r
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Contact: Melissa Van De Werfhorst
melissa@engineering.ucsb.edu
805-893-4301
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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