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article imageNew method for administering anti-cancer drugs

By Tim Sandle     May 9, 2014 in Science
Science researchers have developed an anti-cancer drug delivery method that "smuggles" the drug into a cancer cell before triggering its release.
The research has been led by Dr. Ran Mo of North Carolina State University. Dr. Mo has likened the method to keeping a cancer-killing bomb and its detonator separate until they are inside a cancer cell, where they then combine to destroy the cell.
The researcher goes onto say: “This is an efficient, fast-acting way of delivering drugs to cancer cells and triggering cell death. We also used lipid-based nanocapsules that are already in use for clinical applications, making it closer to use in the real world."
The technique uses nanoscale lipid-based capsules, or liposomes, to deliver both the drug and the release mechanism into cancer cells.
The technique is pretty neat. One set of liposomes contains adenosine-5’-triphosphate (ATP), the so-called “energy molecule.” A second set of liposomes contains an anti-cancer drug called doxorubicin (Dox) that is embedded in a complex of DNA molecules. When the DNA molecules come into contact with high levels of ATP, they unfold and release the Dox. The surface of the liposomes is integrated with positively charged lipids or peptides, which act as corkscrews to introduce the liposomes into cancer cells. As the liposomes are absorbed into a cancer cell, they are sealed off from the rest of the cell in an endosome — a compartment that walls off all foreign material that gets into a cell.
The research has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, in a paper titled “Enhanced Anticancer Efficacy by ATP-Mediated Liposomal Drug Delivery."
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