Using nanotechnology, scientists from UCLA and Northwestern University have developed a localized and controlled drug delivery method that is invisible to the immune system, a discovery that could provide newer and more effective treatments for cancer and other diseases.
The study, published Jan. 22, 2008 in the journal ACS Nano, provides an example of the enormous potential and clinical significance that nanomaterials may represent in such fields as oncology, endocrinology and cardiology.
The researchers used nanoscale polymer films, about four nanometers per layer, to build a sort of matrix or platform to hold and slowly release an anti-inflammatory drug. The films are orders of magnitude thinner than conventional drug deliver coatings, said Genhong Cheng, a researcher at UCLAs Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of the studys authors. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
Using this system, drugs could be released slowly and under control for weeks or longer, said Cheng, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. A drug that is given orally or through the bloodstream travels throughout the system and dissipates from the body much more quickly. Using a more localized and controlled approach could limit side effects, particularly with chemotherapy drugs.
Researchers coated tiny chips with layers of the nanoscale polymer films, which are inert and helped provide a Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak for the chips, hiding them from the bodys natural defenses. They then added Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, between the layers. The chips were implanted in mice, and researchers found that the Dexamethasone-coated films suppressed the expression of cytokines, proteins released by the cells of the immune system to initiate a response to a foreign invader. Mice without implants and those with uncoated implants were studied to compare immune response.
The uncoated implants gene
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles