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Nanotech researchers' 2-step method shows promise in fighting pancreatic cancer
Date:11/15/2013

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new technique for fighting deadly and hard-to-treat pancreatic cancer that uses two different types of nanoparticles, the first type clearing a path into tumor cells for the second, which delivers chemotherapy drugs.

The research team, led by Dr. Andre Nel, a UCLA professor of nanomedicine and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, and Dr. Huan Meng, a UCLA adjunct assistant professor of nanomedicine, has shown that this new drug-delivery technique is effective in treating pancreatic cancer in a mouse model.

The results of the study are published online in the journal ACS Nano and will be featured in the November 2013 print issue.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, or pancreatic cancer, is a deadly disease that is nearly impossible to detect until it is in the advanced stage. Treatment options are limited and have low success rates. The need for innovative and improved treatment of pancreatic cancer cannot be overstated, the researchers said, as a pancreatic cancer diagnosis has often been synonymous with a death sentence.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumors are made up of cancer cells that are surrounded by other structural elements called stroma. The stroma can be made of many substances, including connective tissue and pericyte cells, which block standard chemotherapy drugs in tumor blood vessels from efficiently reaching the cancer cells, reducing the effectiveness of treatment.

The dual-wave nanotherapy method employed by Nel and Meng uses two different kinds of nanoparticles injected intravenously in a rapid succession. The first wave of nanoparticles carries a substance that removes the pericytes' vascular gates, opening up access to the pancreatic cancer cells; the second wave carries the chemotherapy drug that kills the cancer cells.

Nel and Meng, along with colleagues Dr. Jeffre
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Contact: Shaun Mason
smason@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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