Researchers use nanoparticles to treat cancer
Various approaches to support cancer therapy with nanoparticles are currently being investigated. Researchers use the nanoparticles to transport drugs directly to the cancer cells and thus increase the efficiency of the treatment.
The US scientists led by Jeffrey Hrkach from the biotechnology company BIND Biosciences Inc. in Cambridge describe in the scientific journal "Science Translational Medicine" the "development and clinical implementation of polymer nanoparticles that contain the chemotherapeutic agent docetaxel for the treatment of patients with solid tumors". Docetaxel is used, among other things, to treat breast cancer, bronchial carcinoma (lung cancer), prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and gastric cancer. With the help of the nanoparticles, the active ingredient can be transported directly to the cancer cells and thus significantly increase the chances of success of the treatment, the US scientists report.
Nanoparticles are specifically designed for cancer treatment together with researchers from the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, the Harvard Medical School in Boston, the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and the experts from the Institute of Chemical Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge Jeffrey Hrkach examined the options for using nanoparticles in cancer therapy. Her research focused on the use of 50 nanometer small capsules with which the cancer drugs are to be directed directly to the tumors. The nanoparticles are specifically designed for the transport of the active ingredients to the cells, whereby in addition to the size, various factors such as the chemical and physical properties of the shell, the solubility by fat and water or other transport parameters can be influenced. The construction of the tiny transport vehicles is based on high-tech processes that have only been developed in recent years. The particles processed by biotechnology companies like BIND are incredibly tiny (nanometers = one millionth of a millimeter), but according to US researchers, they offer promising options for improving cancer therapy.
Nanoparticles reduce the risk of side effects By transporting the cancer drug with the help of the nanoparticles directly to the tumors, not only could the effectiveness of the active substances be improved, but also the serious side effects could be largely avoided, the US scientists explained. In principle, the nano-transport vehicles can be constructed differently in order to adapt them to their tasks. The nanoparticles tested in the experiments by Jeffrey Hrkach and colleagues were developed "from a combinatorial library of more than 100 different nanoparticle formulations" with regard to particle size, surface properties, binding properties, the active ingredient contained and their release. The nanoparticles were designed to transport the active ingredient docetaxel to the cancer cells. For this purpose, the researchers gave the nano-vehicles a surface with which they could dock onto certain proteins on the outside of the cancer cells. The docetaxel nanoparticles bind to a "prostate-specific membrane antigen" (PSMA), which is present in "prostate cancer cells and most solid tumors", write Hrkach and colleagues.
Cancer therapy with nanoparticles successfully tested Comparable procedures have already been tested in previous clinical studies and showed significant success there, the US scientists explained. The docetaxel nanoparticles themselves have been successfully used on rats, mice and primates (macaques), among others. The suppression of tumor growth when using the docetaxel nanoparticles lasted significantly longer than with the conventional solvent-based treatment with docetaxel, report Jeffrey Hrkach and colleagues in the article “Preclinical Development and Clinical Translation of a PSMA-Targeted Docetaxel Nanoparticle with a Differentiated Pharmacological Profile ”in the journal“ Science Translational Medicine ”. The effectiveness of the Docetaxel nanoparticles is significantly higher, since their concentration in the blood plasma after 24 hours was at least 100 times higher than the Docetaxel concentration with the conventional treatment. However, the risk of side effects was significantly lower with the Docetaxel nanoparticles, since these only act directly on the cancer cells, Hrkach continues.
Cancer drug already works in low concentrations due to nanoparticles According to the US scientists, the new method has now been tested for the first time in a clinical study in humans, whereby in the phase I study 17 people with tumors and metastases based on docetaxel who have already been treated many times -Nanoparticles were treated. The active substance had already worked in a significantly lower concentration in the test subjects, since the docetaxel was released directly concentrated on the tumors, the US researchers report. Already 20 percent of the conventional active ingredient concentration would have shown the same effect here. For the researchers, nanoparticles are a promising new approach to cancer therapy that could become an integral part of the treatment of tumors in the future. (fp)
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