Nanoparticles May Exploit Tumor Weaknesses to Selectively Attack Cancers

(Science Daily) – Delving into the world of the extremely small, researchers are exploring how biodegradable nanoparticles can precisely deliver anticancer drugs to attack neuroblastoma, an often-deadly children’s cancer.

By bringing together experts in pediatric oncology with experts in nanotechnology, researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia aim to thread the needle of delivering effective doses of cancer-killing agents while avoiding toxicity in healthy tissues. The team’s new research shows that this approach inhibits tumor growth and markedly prolongs survival in animal models.

“These nanoparticles allow us to get more ‘bang for the buck’ — greater efficacy at lower total doses,” said Garrett M. Brodeur, M.D., a pediatric oncologist and expert in neuroblastoma at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “The nanoparticles are designed to slowly deliver a drug to the tumor, where it kills multiplying cancer cells, with lower toxicity to the systemic circulation.”

Brodeur’s group collaborated with a group of CHOP nanotechnology researchers led by Michael Chorny, Ph.D., in a study to be published in print May 1 in Cancer Letters.

Chorny, in turn, led a study to be published in the May print issue of Biomaterials, in collaboration with Brodeur’s group and with Robert Levy, M.D., and Ivan Alferiev, Ph.D., both members with Chorny of a cardiology research group at CHOP. That paper described how the team engineered the specially formulated nanoparticles.

 

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