Tiny delivery system with a big impact on cancer cells

December 15, 2008
A new group of nanocomposite particles could lead to improved anti-cancer drugs, researchers report. Credit: Hari S. Muddana

Researchers in Pennsylvania are reporting for the first time that nanoparticles 1/5,000 the diameter of a human hair encapsulating an experimental anticancer agent, kill human melanoma and drug-resistant breast cancer cells growing in laboratory cultures. The discovery could lead to the development of a new generation of anti-cancer drugs that are safer and more effective than conventional chemotherapy agents, the scientists suggest. The research is scheduled for the Dec. 10 issue of ACS' Nano Letters.

In the new study, Mark Kester, James Adair and colleagues at Penn State's Hershey Medical Center and University Park campus point out that certain nanoparticles have shown promise as drug delivery vehicles. However, many of these particles will not dissolve in body fluids and are toxic to cells, making them unsuitable for drug delivery in humans. Although promising as an anti-cancer agent, ceramide also is insoluble in the blood stream making delivery to cancer cells difficult.

The scientists report a potential solution with development of calcium phosphate nanocomposite particles (CPNPs). The particles are soluble and with ceramide encapsulated with the calcium phosphate, effectively make ceramide soluble. With ceramide encapsulated inside, the CPNPs killed 95 percent of human melanoma cells and was "highly effective" against human breast cancer cells that are normally resistant to anticancer drugs, the researchers say.

Penn State Research Foundation has licensed the calcium phosphate nanocomposite particle technology known as "NanoJackets" to Keystone Nano, Inc. MK and JA are CMO and CSO, respectively.

Article: "Calcium Phosphate Nanocomposite Particles for In Vitro Imaging and Encapsulated Chemotherapeutic Drug Delivery to Cancer Cells", pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/nl802098g

Provided by ACS

Explore further: Cellular contamination pathway for plutonium, other heavy elements, identified

Related Stories

Rare form: Novel structures built from DNA emerge

July 20, 2015

DNA, the molecular foundation of life, has new tricks up its sleeve. The four bases from which it is composed snap together like jigsaw pieces and can be artificially manipulated to construct endlessly varied forms in two ...

Recommended for you

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets ...

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

Scientists grow high-quality graphene from tea tree extract

August 21, 2015

(Phys.org)—Graphene has been grown from materials as diverse as plastic, cockroaches, Girl Scout cookies, and dog feces, and can theoretically be grown from any carbon source. However, scientists are still looking for a ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2008
o.k.! Whatever works that can be brought to market!

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.