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article imageNanoparticles can help battle brain cancer

By Tim Sandle     Jul 15, 2018 in Science
Researchers have come up with a new drug-delivering nanoparticle which may provide a more effective means to treat the brain cancer glioblastoma. The particles are equipped to transport two different drugs.
The important design concept with the nanoparticles is that they are designed to readily ross the blood-brain barrier. Once through the particles can readily bind to tumor cells. Of the two different compounds, one medication damages tumor cells’ DNA; and the second interferes with the biological process that cancerous cells use to repair the type of damage that the first drug triggers.
One reason why new drug delivery systems are being sought is because of the challenges and damage to drugs from the digestive system. Furthermore, side effects can be minimized if the drug is better targeted plus poor targeting can mean that some drugs miss the cancer cells entirely.
The brain cancer brings targeted is glioblastoma multiforme. This is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Typically, treatment involves surgery, after which chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. The challenge with chemotherapy is with effective drug delivery.
In studies conducted using mice, the scientists demonstrated the nanoparticles can shrink tumors and also prevent them from growing back. According to lead researcher, Professor Paula Hammond, speaking with Bioscience Technology: “What is unique here is we are not only able to use this mechanism to get across the blood-brain barrier and target tumors very effectively, we are using it to deliver this unique drug combination.”
To get the particles to effectively treat brain tumors, the researchers had to develop a novel way to get them across the blood-brain barrier. This was achieved by coating the particles with protein called transferrin. Once the particles reach a tumor and are taken up by cells, the particles start to break down.
The research has been published in Nature Communications, with the study described as: “Enhanced efficacy of combined temozolomide and bromodomain inhibitor therapy for gliomas using targeted nanoparticles.”
In related news, a new nanoparticle, at the cellular level, can reveal how cancer cells move to different locations in the human body. This bio-process co-opts the human body’s intercellular delivery service. See: “Essential Science: New nanoparticle may aid cancer detection.”
More about Cancer, Brain cancer, Nanoparticles, Nanotechnology
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