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 Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>