Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nottingham academics develop new nanotechnology to treat brain tumours

04.06.2003


Academics at The University of Nottingham are developing new nanotechnology that could be used to treat brain tumours more effectively by reducing the serious side-effects associated with anti-cancer drugs.

A team led by Dr Martin Garnett in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences has been awarded a £206,000 grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to continue investigations on the preparation of nanoparticles for delivering drugs to brain tumours.

Anti-cancer drugs are problematic because they can cause significant problems in other non-diseased areas of the body too, leading to nasty side effects for the patient. For brain tumours this is doubly difficult because, for most drugs, access to tumours can be even trickier.



The Nottingham academics are looking at changing the behaviour of anti-cancer molecules by putting them into tiny particles called nanoparticles, which are one ten-thousandth of a millimetre in diameter. These nanoparticles are made from polymers - molecules made from a long chain of chemical units. Using a ’’water-loving’’ polymer on the outside, and a ’’water-hating’’ polymer on the inside, allows the particles to assemble themselves with the drugs held in the centre of the nanoparticles.

Because of their size, these nanoparticles can only get out of the blood stream at the tumour and in the liver, preventing toxicity in many other tissues in the body.

The ’’water-loving’’ polymer on the surface of these particles greatly reduces the uptake of the drug to the liver, ensuring that it travels to the brain tumour more effectively. The polymers previously available for making nanoparticles were only capable of carrying small amounts of a drug and couldn’’t hold on to the drug for very long, leading the academics to design some new polymers in an attempt to overcome these problems.

Developing and testing new delivery systems for drugs can also be a problem because of the toxicity of anti-cancer drugs. The academics are overcoming this problem by using drugs that are used to treat the inflammation of the brain that accompanies brain tumours, but are much less harmful to the patient and easier for the researchers to work with.

The idea for this new technology first came as part of discussions within the University’’s Children’’s Brain Tumour Research Centre which involves a number of academics from different disciplines. Co-ordinated by Dr David Walker the centre investigates the causes and potential new treatments for brain tumours in children.

The project is part of a two-centre award from the BBSRC totalling £409,000 which involves the synthesis of new polymers by scientists Dr Gillian Hutcheon and Dr Sean Higgins at Liverpool John Moores University and the development of nanoparticles by Dr Garnett and colleague Dr Paraskevi Kallinteri at The University of Nottingham.

The new project builds on results from a previous BBSRC grant, which have shown that the new polymers have allowed the researchers to incorporate anti-inflammatory drugs into nanoparticles in much greater amounts than with previous polymers and that they also hold on to the drugs much more firmly.

A patent has been filed on the use of these polymers, which should help in the future development of these delivery systems, and the drug release properties of these polymers are now being investigated by research student Weina Meng, whose work has been partly funded by the Children’’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.

The new project will develop these polymers further to discover whether it is possible to incorporate a much wider variety of drugs, including toxic anti-cancer drugs, and also to demonstrate that they work well in test systems.

Dr Garnett said: "I am very pleased with the progress in this project so far. The new polymers have exceeded my expectations and the flexibility of the synthesis of these polymers offers hope that they should be suitable for delivering a wide range of drugs.

"While there is still a long road ahead, we hope that this work will lead to clinical trials of these delivery systems and, eventually, a reduction in the side effects that patients suffer as a result of being treated with anti-cancer drugs."

Lyn Heath-Harvey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/public-affairs/index.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>