"Although chemotherapy has saved many lives, it often has undesirable side effects," said Deryl Troyer, professor of anatomy and physiology at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The people most excited about this research are people who have gone through chemo, because our approach may circumvent many of those side effects."
Troyer and two K-State faculty -- Duy Hua, university distinguished professor of chemistry, and Masaaki Tamura, associate professor of anatomy and physiology -- received a $380,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. They are studying how stem cells can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to breast cancer cells via nanoparticles. The researchers have studied the method in vitro but soon hope to study the method in preclinical models. The research is a part of the program of the Midwest Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biology at K-State and has received support from K-State's Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research.
The researchers are using stem cells isolated from Wharton's jelly, the substance that cushions blood vessels in the umbilical cord. These types of stem cells can be harvested noninvasively and therefore are not controversial.
"Billions and billions of these cells are disposed of every day," Troyer said. "We think these cells have a lot of advantages, including their ability to be harvested in large numbers very rapidly."
Troyer said the stem cells display a sort of homing ability in that they tend to travel to tumors and other pathological lesions. The researchers are using these stem cells as delivery systems by loading the cells with nanoparticles that contain anti-cancer drugs.
"We are using the cells as stealth vehicles," Troyer said.
Hua is fabricating the nanoparticles and some of the small-molecule drugs for the research. The tiny capsules carrying the drugs are nanogels made up of two polymers. The nanogel has a dye molecule that allows the researchers to follow it through the body using a fluorescent microscope.
The nanogel capsules are loaded into a stem cell, which responds to proteins sent out by the cancer cells by homing to them, Hua said. As the stem cells reach the cancer tissues, another chemical that induces cell death of the stem cells will be administered -- only stem cells are engineered to respond to this additional drug. This means that the nanogel-encapsulated drugs will be released from the stem cells directly at the cancer tissue.
"The nanogel can be viewed as a very tiny piece of paper that wraps around the anti-cancer drug like a candy wrapper," Hua said. "Over time or under certain conditions, the paper unwraps and releases the candy. Most anti-cancer drugs, including ours, are insoluble in water. However, the nanogel is water soluble."
Because the drugs are going directly to cancer cells, Troyer said this method potentially can cause fewer side effects than less direct methods like intravenous chemotherapy. Troyer said that this research will make existing but underused cancer drugs more useful to the doctors who treat people with cancer.
"Many potent small-molecule drugs are sitting on a shelf collecting dust," Troyer said. "Often they are insoluble or have many toxic effects. We hope to deliver some of these compounds in a more targeted manner via the combination of stem cells and nanoparticles. Although nanotechnology has made enormous strides toward more focused drug delivery, there is always room for improvement."
Duy Hua | Newswise Science News
Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku
Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy