Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny bundles seek and destroy breast cancer cells

24.05.2005


Penn State College of Medicine study shows for the first time in an animal model that ceramide, a naturally occurring substance that prevents the growth of cells, can be administered through the blood stream to target and kill cancer cells.

"Ceramide is the substance that accumulates in cancer tissues and helps to kill cancer cells when patients undergo chemotherapy and radiation," said Mark Kester, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "By boosting the amount of ceramide through an injection in the bloodstream, our study in mice suggests that we can provide a stronger cancer-killing therapy without additional side effects."

This study titled "Systemic Delivery of Liposomal Short-Chain Ceramide Limits Solid Tumor Growth in Murine Models of Breast Adenocarcinoma" was published in the May issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.



Administering extra ceramide is not as easy as it seems. Injected directly into the bloodstream, ceramide is toxic. But Kester applied knowledge gained from previous laboratory studies in nanotechnology and encapsulated the ceramide in tiny bundles called liposomes. "The major problem with ceramide is that it is a lipid and therefore is not soluble in the systemic circulation," Kester said. "Packaging ceramide in our nano liposome capsules allows them to travel through the bloodstream without causing toxicity and release the ceramide in the tumor."

Although the mechanism remains unknown, ceramide is inherently attracted to tumor cells. The liposome-encased ceramide travels through the bloodstream to the tumor where it enters the tumor cells through the tumor’s leaky vasculature. The ceramide disrupts the mitochondria, which act as the energy producer for the cell. This causes apoptosis, or cell death. The ceramide also reduces the vascular network that feeds the tumor. In this study in mice, the ceramide bundles targeted and destroyed only breast cancer cells, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

Kester and his team first tested the ceramide-filled liposomes in a culture of breast cancer cells. The administration of ceramide reduced by more than 50 percent the number of breast cancer cells. Additional cell culture studies showed that ceramide accumulated in the mitochondria of the breast cancer cells supporting earlier laboratory studies that ceramide interferes with the structure of the cell and causes tumor death.

In a mouse model of breast tumors, the team administered liposome-encased ceramide every other day via intravenous injection. After 21 days, the mice treated with the liposome-encased ceramide had a six-fold lower tumor volume than the mice treated with "empty" liposomes. The weight of animals treated with ceramide did not vary significantly from the mice treated with empty liposomes signifying that the ceramide was not toxic (weight would have been lower with toxicity). When the tumors were examined, those treated with ceramide showed a 20-fold increase in cellular apoptosis and a 40 percent decrease in cellular proliferation, or growth, compared to the control group.

"Although we’ve shown that ceramide has an effect on breast tumor cells in mice, breast cancer cells in humans may eventually resist the treatment, suggesting that ceramide should be used in combination with more traditional cancer treatments as a treatment booster," Kester said. "Our next step is to explore how additional chemotherapeutic agents could be incorporated into the liposomes for a more lasting effect."

Other study team members were: Thomas C. Stover, Ph.D., Arati Sharma, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, and Gavin P. Robertson, Ph.D., Departments of Pharmacology, Pathology, and Dermatology, Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. All research methods were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of Penn State College of Medicine. This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Valerie Gliem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>