Researcher Looks For Better Way to Kill Cancer Cells

Oct 13, 2008
Researcher Looks For Better Way to Kill Cancer Cells
Iron nanoparticles made in Professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky’s lab are spherical and uniformly sized, a highly desired goal in producing nanoparticles.

Physics Professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky brought more with her when she arrived at UT Dallas than expertise in nanotechnology and shiny behemoth lab equipment. She brought an award for $84,000 from the National Institutes of Health via the Cleveland Clinic.

Formerly a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Leslie-Pelecky forged a partnership with the clinic’s Dr. Vinod Labhasetwar in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. They partnered to pursue cancer treatments that “stick” treated magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) of iron oxide to tumors using magnets outside the body.

“This avenue of research focuses on treatments for breast cancer and prostate cancer,” Leslie-Pelecky said. “These cancers usually present tumors that are close to the skin. If we can deliver magnetic, cancer-fighting drugs directly to these tumors—and if we can keep the drugs in place at the tumor sites with magnets—we can avoid some of the side-effects of giving people cancer drugs that end up distributed through their entire body.”

Leslie-Pelecky said the basic principles of this treatment are established, but a few roadblocks remain.

“One challenge is making nanoparticles that are more magnetic,” she said. “We really have to understand the basic physics at work so we can design strongly magnetic nanoparticles. We’re fighting blood flow that will carry treatments away from tumors, so we need stronger magnetic nanoparticles that will stay in place, and keep the chemotherapy drugs in place, when we hold a magnet on the outside of the skin.”

Another possible roadblock the research team faced was determining whether iron-oxide nanoparticles presented any harmful effects inside the body. The study concluded that the MNPs generated didn’t cause long-term changes in liver enzyme levels or induce oxidative stress and were therefore safe for drug delivery or other applications.

Leslie-Pelecky custom tailors iron oxide nanoparticles in a stainless steel deposition chamber housed in her lab at UT Dallas. Labhasetwar supplies the medical expertise for their collaboration, while Leslie-Pelecky focuses on magnetic nanotechnology and precisely manufacturing the research particles.

The collaboration resulted in a paper, published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, that was recently cited among the most-accessed articles in the first quarter of 2008.

Link: pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/mpohbp/2008/5/i02/abs/mp7001285.html

Provided by UT Dallas

Explore further: Development of gold nanoparticles that control osteogenic differentiation of stem cells

Related Stories

Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay

Apr 01, 2015

Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they can take effect. But a team of researchers has developed a way ...

Ultra-small block 'M' illustrates big ideas in drug delivery

Feb 26, 2015

By making what might be the world's smallest three-dimensional unofficial Block "M," University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a nanoparticle manufacturing process capable of producing multilayered, precise shapes.

Recommended for you

Artificial muscles get graphene boost

May 22, 2015

Researchers in South Korea have developed an electrode consisting of a single-atom-thick layer of carbon to help make more durable artificial muscles.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.