Following the second experiment, the melanoma tumors shrank significantly and to the same extent in both groups of mice indicating that the melanized nanoparticles did not interfere with the radiation therapy's effectiveness. And once again, the melanized nanoparticles prevented radiation-induced bone-marrow damage: between the third and seventh day after the antibody-isotope radiation therapy was administered, mice injected with nanoparticles experienced a drop in white cells that was significantly less than occurred in mice not pre-treated with nanoparticles.
"The ability to protect the bone marrow will allow physicians to use more extensive cancer-killing radiation therapies and this will hopefully translate into greater tumor response rates," said Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology, the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair in Microbiology & Immunology, and a co-author of the study.
Some nanoparticles could still be found in bone marrow 24 hours after their injection, which shouldn't pose a problem. "Since the nanoparticles are rapidly removed by phagocytic cells, they're unlikely to damage the bone marrow," said Dr. Dadachova. "We didn't detect any side effects associated with administering the particles."
"These results are encouraging for other potential applications of melanin, including radioprotection of other radiation-sensitive tissues, such as the gastrointestinal tract," noted Andrew Schweitzer, M.D., formerly a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow at Einstein and lead author of the study.
Clinical trials testing whether melanized nanoparticles might protect cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy could begin in two to three years, Dr. Dadachova predicted. She also noted that melanized nanoparticles might also have other applications, such as protecting workers charged with cleaning up nuclear accidents, protecting astr
|Contact: Deirdre Branley|
Albert Einstein College of Medicine