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article imageFighting cancer with nanotechnology

By Tim Sandle     Jan 9, 2014 in Science
Scientists have developed nanoparticles that carry two different cancer-killing drugs into the body and deliver those drugs to separate parts of the cancer cell where they will be most effective.
Medical research indicates that cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs, but are less likely to develop resistance when multiple drugs are delivered simultaneously. One way to deliver multiple drugs is through nanotechnology.
To enable this, researchers have developed nanoparticles made with an outer shell made of hyaluronic acid (HA) woven together with a protein. The HA interacts with receptors on cancer cell membranes, which “grab” the nanoparticle. Enzymes in the cancer cell environment break down the HA, releasing the protein onto the cell membrane and ultimately triggering cell death.
Studies in mice with cancer, when applying nanotechnology, have shown a significant improvement in breast cancer tumor reduction as compared to conventional treatment techniques.
The research was conducted at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The findings have been published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, in a paper titled “Gel–Liposome-Mediated Co-Delivery of Anticancer Membrane-Associated Proteins and Small-Molecule Drugs for Enhanced Therapeutic Efficacy.”
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