Nano-Syringe Delivers Combination, Targeted Brain Cancer Therapy
Summary posted by Meridian on 4/17/2012
Source: ScienceDaily (16 April 2012)
Researchers at the Methodist Neurological Institute and Rice University, both in the United States, have discovered a way to selectively kill brain cancer cells by using a 20-nanometer syringe to deliver a combination of chemotherapy drugs directly into the cells. Patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive malignant brain tumor, typically have a prognosis of 14-month survival time, despite medical interventions. According to David Baskin, a neurosurgeon at Methodist, "Without our nano-delivery system, we know that current drug delivery would be highly toxic to patients if we tried to deliver all three of these drugs at once. But delivered in combination using these nano-syringes, our research demonstrated extreme lethality, with at least a three-fold increase in the number of dead cancer cells following treatment. The nano-syringes selectively deliver these drugs only to cancer cells, and appear not to be toxic to normal neurons and other non-cancerous brain cells." The team developed a hydrophilic carbon cluster (HCC) nanovector that is capable of transporting and delivering drugs and bioactive molecules. Martyn Sharpe, a scientist in Methodist’s department of neurosurgery, said, "A new and exciting advance is that now we have a carrier with protective properties, unlike previous nanotubes which were shown to be toxic. Some of the chemotherapy agents used in this research traditionally perform poorly with GBMs. Now that we've shown a successful kill rate of these cells in vivo, we're looking at treating human tumors that will be grown in immune-compromised mice models." The team’s work will be published in the journal ACS Nano.
The original article may still be available at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120416165829.htm