Nanotechnology Used to Eliminate Tumors

Nanoparticle therapy helped shrink cancer tumors in mice

The new and promising treatment method involves mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs). These particles can store and deliver chemotherapeutic drugs that suppress cancer tumors in mice. Researchers at the UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center also showed that these particles target almost only tumors and are evacuated from the body once the chemotherapeutic drugs are delivered.

According to scientists' observations, MSNs travel in the bloodstream for relatively large periods of time and they gather mostly in tumors. This treatment led to shrinkage are regression of xenograft tumors and by the end of the treatment, most mice were tumor free. Besides, the long-term toxicity of MSNs to them was insignificant. This study used mice with human breast cancer but researchers have recently had the same results in mice with human pancreatic cancer.

In this study collaborated Fuyu Tamanoi, a UCLA professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and director of the signal transduction and therapeutics program at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Jeffrey Zink, a UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry. These two professors are researchers at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) and two of the co-directors of the CNSI's Nano Machine Center for Targeted Delivery and On-Demand Release. The leader of the research is Jie Lu, a postdoctoral fellow in Tamanoi's lab, who also worked with Monty Liong and Zongxi Li, researchers from Zink's lab.

Professor Tamanoi said that this study “shows for the first time that MSNs are effective for anticancer drug delivery” and they have an important ability to destroy tumors. These nanoparticles have two key properties: the ability of gathering inside tumors and the fact that they are eliminated through urine and feces within four days. This is essential to the body as toxic drugs don't get in touch with all organs and are eliminated in a relative short period.

Nanotechnology allows drug to affect only sick cells and it is a big step in the development of targeted delivery of anticancer drugs. It is a major progress over traditional chemotherapy treatments, that have drugs distributed all over the organism and cause various side effects. This study was published July 8 in the journal Small.

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