A new delivery system guides drugs directly to cancer cells in bone marrow
A cancer therapy based on fusing two types of cells into a single unit shows promise in strengthening existing treatments for acute myeloid leukemia. The approach joins blood platelets that carry cancer drugs with stem cells that guide the platelets into bone marrow where leukemia begins.
Researchers found that when injected into mice that had acute myeloid leukemia, the combination therapy halted the disease from developing any further. Of the mice that received the treatment, 87.5 percent were cured by 80 days after the combination cells were injected. Those mice also were all resistant to leukemia cells that were re-injected two months after the 80-day period.
The study was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Zhen Gu, a professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering who led the study, said the approach could be used in concert with other therapies, such as chemotherapy and stem cell treatment, to improve their effectiveness. Gu said the method would have to be tested and approved in human clinical trials before it could be incorporated in treatments for people with leukemia.
Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer that starts in bone marrow and can spread to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. With a compromised immune system, a person with this type of leukemia could die from complications from other diseases.
As a treatment for leukemia, chemotherapy on its own is only moderately effective: Leukemia fails to go into remission in about 1 in 3 patients following chemotherapy, according to the American Cancer Society. And about half of people with the disease who do experience remission may have a relapse -- typically within two years after treatment -- usually because chemotherapy cannot reach cancer cells in bone marrow.
The UCLA-led research aimed to solve that problem by devising a method to deliver medicine directly into the bone marrow. The approach, termed "cell combination drug delivery," is the first to link two different cells together for therapeutic purposes.
In the combined cells, the blood platelets are used to deliver immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors (the UCLA researchers used a drug called an aPD-1 antibody), which seek out cancer cells and neutralize their defenses. Once this occurs, the body's immune system can identify and destroy the cancer cells.
"This part of the cell combination is like a delivery truck," Gu said. "We can package medicines or immune system boosters on the cell surface of platelets, and have them activated to unload once at the target site inside the body."
The second element of the two-cell combination is hematopoietic stem cells, or blood stem cells, which can find their way into the bone marrow through specific chemical signals.
"The hematopoietic stem cells are like a homing signal to the bone marrow," said Quanyin Hu, a lead author of the paper and former doctoral student in Gu's research group. "Once the stem cells guide the combo cells into the marrow, the platelets can be activated. They release immunotherapy cargoes inside the marrow to facilitate the body's own defenses, in this case T cells, to kill leukemia cells."
The researchers plan to continue studying the approach as a potential therapy for leukemia and other diseases.
Senior authors of the paper were Dr. Joshua Zeidner and Dr. Gianpietro Dotti of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Ke Cheng, a professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The other authors of the study include students and research scientists from UCLA and from China's Fudan University and South China University of Technology.
The research was supported by funding from UCLA; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, where Gu was previously a faculty member; and a Sloan Research Fellowship.
Amy Akmal | EurekAlert!
AI-driven single blood cell classification: New method to support physicians in leukemia diagnostics
13.11.2019 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Small RNAs link immune system and brain cells
13.11.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.
Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...
Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...
In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.
An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...
An international research group has observed new quantum properties on an artificial giant atom and has now published its results in the high-ranking journal Nature Physics. The quantum system under investigation apparently has a memory - a new finding that could be used to build a quantum computer.
The research group, consisting of German, Swedish and Indian scientists, has investigated an artificial quantum system and found new properties.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion...
05.11.2019 | Event News
30.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
12.11.2019 | Machine Engineering
12.11.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
12.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy