Huixin He, associate professor, nanoscale chemistry at Rutgers University, Newark, and Tamara Minko, professor at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, have developed a nanotechnology approach that potentially could eliminate the problems of side effects and drug resistance in the treatment of cancer. Under traditional chemotherapy, cancer cells, like bacteria, can develop resistance to drug therapy, leading to a relapse of the disease.
As reported in the December 21, 2009, issue of the journal Small, He, Minko and their co-researchers, including investigators from Merck & Co. and Carl Zeiss SMT, a global nanotechnology firm, have designed nanomaterials that allow for the targeted and simultaneous delivery of a chemical drug to destroy cancer cells and a genetic drug to prevent drug resistance.
"We modified the surface of mesoporous silica nanoparticles so that an anticancer drug, doxorubicin, could be loaded into the pores of the silica nanoparticles. Also loaded onto the nanoparticles was a genetic drug designed to prevent or remove multidrug resistance outside the nanoparticles," explained He.
When administered to multidrug-resistant ovarian cancer cells, the nanoparticle treatment was more than 130 times more lethal than when doxorubicin was administrated alone . Most importantly, "the drug can only be released when it is inside the cancer cells. This controlled internal release mechanism can dramatically eliminate side effects associated with anticancer drugs to normal tissues," He noted.
Battling Aggressive Breast Cancer with Nanotubes
In related research, Professor He and another team of co-researchers have developed single-walled carbon nanotubes, consisting of cylinders of carbon about a nanometer in length, that hold the potential of providing a more effective means for detecting and selectively destroying aggressive breast cancer cells.
In a paper published in BMC Cancer late
|Contact: Helen Paxton|