Duke University bioengineers have developed a simple and inexpensive method for loading cancer drug payloads into nano-scale delivery vehicles and demonstrated in animal models that this new nanoformulation can eliminate tumors after a single treatment. After delivering the drug to the tumor, the delivery vehicle breaks down into harmless byproducts, markedly decreasing the toxicity for the recipient.
Nano-delivery systems have become increasingly attractive to researchers because of their ability to efficiently get into tumors. Since blood vessels supplying tumors are more porous, or leaky, than normal vessels, the nanoformulation can more easily enter and accumulate within tumor cells. This means that higher doses of the drug can be delivered, increasing its cancer-killing abilities while decreasing the side effects associated with systematic chemotherapy
"When used to deliver anti-cancer medications in our models, the new formulation has a four-fold higher maximum tolerated dose than the same drug by itself, and it induced nearly complete tumor regression after one injection," said Ashutosh Chilkoti, Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. "The free drug had only a modest effect in shrinking tumors or in prolonging animal survival".
The results of Chilkoti's experiments were published early online in the journal Nature Materials.
"Just as importantly, we believe, is the novel method we developed to create these drugs," Chilkoti said. "Unlike other approaches, we can produce large quantities simply and inexpensively, and we believe the new method theoretically could be used to improve the effectiveness of other existing cancer drugs."Central to the new method is how the drug is "attached" to its polypeptide delivery system and whether or not a drug can be dissolved in water.
When attached to one of these chimeric polypeptides, the drug takes on characteristics that the drug alone does not possess. Most drugs do not dissolve in water, which limits their ability to be taken in by cells. But being attached to a nanoparticle makes the drug soluble.
"When these two elements are combined in a container, they spontaneously self-assemble into a water-soluble nanoparticle," Chilkoti said. "They also self-assemble consistently and reliably in a size of 50 nanometers or so that makes them ideal for cancer therapy. Since many chemotherapeutic drugs are insoluble, we believe that this new approach could work for them as well."
The latest experiments involved doxorubicin, a commonly used agent for the treatment of cancers of the blood, breast, ovaries and other organs. The researchers injected mice with tumors implanted under their skin with either the chimeric polypeptide-doxorubicin combination or doxorubicin alone.
The mice treated with doxorubicin alone had an average tumor size 25 times greater than those treated with the new combination. The average survival time for the doxorubicin-treated mice was 27 days, compared to more than 66 days for mice getting the new formulation.
The Duke researchers now plan to test the new combination on different types of cancer, as well as tumors growing within different organs. They will also try combining these chimeric polypeptides with other insoluble drugs and test their effectiveness against tumors.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Other Duke team members were Mingnan Chen, Jonathan McDaniel, Wenge Liu, J. Andrew Simnick, and J. Andrew MacKay, now at the University of Southern California.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences