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UNC study: shape, not just size, impacts effectiveness of emerging nanomedicine therapies
Date:8/4/2008

chers made particles with specific shapes, sizes and surface charges. DeSimone said the aim is to optimize particle attributes for specific therapeutic objectives.

"This would mean that we could deliver lower dosages of drugs to specific cells and tissues in the body and actually be more effective in treating the cancer," said DeSimone, who is also a member of UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the co-principal investigator for the Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.

Creating particles of different dimensions, the UNC researchers changed one variable at a time, and experimented with different surface chemistries. They then incubated the different particles with human cervical carcinoma epithelial (HeLa) cells, monitoring each type to see which ones the cells absorbed most effectively.

For instance, the scientists discovered that long, rod-shaped particles (diameter, 150 nanometers; height, 450 nanometers) were internalized by cells approximately four times faster than lower aspect ratio particles (diameter, 200 nanometers; height, 200 nanometers), and traveled significantly further into the cells as well.

Gratton noted the same phenomenon is found in natural organisms.

"The long rod-shaped structure of bacteria may help explain why PRINT particles of higher aspect ratios are internalized more rapidly and effectively than lower aspect ratio particles," she said. "If we can design particles that rely on the same mechanisms that nature has perfected for bacteria, we may unlock the key for delivering therapeutics more efficiently and effectively to treat and cure disease."

Liquidia Technologies, a UNC spin-off company, has an exclusive license to the PRINT technology and is developing engineered nanoparticles for delivery of nucleic acids and small molecule therapeutics. Liquidia also sponsors research in the DeSimone lab. The company's chief executive officer, Neal Fowler, said the
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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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