August 5, 2005

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE:

Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

MIT researchers have designed a nanoparticle to do just that.

The dual-chamber, double-acting, drug-packing “nanocell” proved effective and safe, with prolonged survival, against two distinct forms of cancers-melanoma and Lewis lung cancer-in mice.

The work will be reported in the July 28 issue of Nature, with an accompanying commentary. . . .

The team loaded the outer membrane of the nanocell with an anti-angiogenic drug and the inner balloon with chemotherapy agents. A “stealth” surface chemistry allows the nanocells to evade the immune system, while their size (200 nanometers) makes them preferentially taken into the tumor. They are small enough to pass through tumor vessels, but too large for the pores of normal vessels.

Once the nanocell is inside the tumor, its outer membrane disintegrates, rapidly deploying the anti-angiogenic drug. The blood vessels feeding the tumor then collapse, trapping the loaded nanoparticle in the tumor, where it slowly releases the chemotherapy.

The team tested this model in mice. The double-loaded nanocell shrank the tumor, stopped angiogenesis and avoided systemic toxicity much better than other treatment and delivery variations.

Faster, please. (Via NanoDot).

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