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Nanosponge drug delivery system more effective than direct injection
Date:6/2/2010

When loaded with an anticancer drug, a delivery system based on a novel material called nanosponge is three to five times more effective at reducing tumor growth than direct injection.

That is the conclusion of a paper published in the June 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"Effective targeted drug delivery systems have been a dream for a long time now but it has been largely frustrated by the complex chemistry that is involved," says Eva Harth, assistant professor of chemistry at Vanderbilt, who developed the nanosponge delivery system. "We have taken a significant step toward overcoming these obstacles."

The study was a collaboration between Harth's laboratory and that of Dennis E. Hallahan, a former professor of radiation oncology at Vanderbilt who is now at the Washington University School of Medicine. Corresponding authors are Harth and Roberto Diaz at Emory University, who was working in the Hallahan laboratory when the studies were done.

To visualize Harth's delivery system, imagine making tiny sponges that are about the size of a virus, filling them with a drug and attaching special chemical "linkers" that bond preferentially to a feature found only on the surface of tumor cells and then injecting them into the body. The tiny sponges circulate around the body until they encounter the surface of a tumor cell where they stick on the surface (or are sucked into the cell) and begin releasing their potent cargo in a controllable and predictable fashion.

Targeted delivery systems of this type have several basic advantages: Because the drug is released at the tumor instead of circulating widely through the body, it should be more effective for a given dosage. It should also have fewer harmful side effects because smaller amounts of the drug come into contact with healthy tissue.

"We call the material nanosponge, but it is really more like a three-dimensional network or scaffold,
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Contact: David F. Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert  

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