Scientists develop targeted cancer treatment using nanomaterials

August 19, 2009
Scientists develop targeted cancer treatment using nanomaterials
Above: X-ray fluorescent imaging of the TiO2-mAb binding to the single brain cancer cells. The bare titianium dioxide nanoparticle bonds with an antibody and attaches itself to brain cancer cells. When exposed to concentrated white light, the titanium dioxide creates free radicals of oxygen that cause the cancer cells to die.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago's Brain Tumor Center have developed a way to target brain cancer cells using inorganic titanium dioxide nanoparticles bonded to soft biological material.

Thousands of people die from malignant brain tumors every year, and the tumors are resistant to conventional therapies. This nano-bio technology may eventually provide an alternative form of therapy that targets only cancer cells and does not affect normal living tissue.

"It is a real example of how nano and biological interfacing can be used for biomedical application," said scientist Elena Rozhkova with Argonne's Center for . "We chose brain cancer because of its difficulty in treatment and its unique receptors."

This new therapy relies on a two-pronged approach. is a versatile photoreactive nanomaterial that can be bonded with biomolecules. When linked to an antibody nanoparticles recognize and bind specifically to cancer cells. Focused visible light is shined onto the affected region, and the localized titanium dioxide reacts to the light by creating free oxygen radicals that interact with the mitochondria in the cancer cells. Mitochondria act as cellular energy plants, and when free radicals interfere with their biochemical pathways, mitochondria receive a signal to start cell death.

"The significance of this work lies in our ability to effectively target nanoparticles to specific cell surface receptors expressed on cells," said Dr. Maciej S. Lesniak, Director of Neurosurgical Oncology at University of Chicago Brain Tumor Center. "In so doing, we have overcome a major limitation involving the application of nanoparticles in medicine, namely the potential of these agents to distribute throughout the body. We are now in a position to develop this exciting technology in preclinical models of tumors, with the hope of one day employing this new technology in patients."

X-ray fluorescence microscopy done at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source also showed that the tumors' invadopodia, actin-rich micron scale protrusions that allow the cancer to invade surrounding healthy cells, can be also attacked by the titanium dioxide.

So far, tests have been done only on cells in a laboratory setting, but animal testing is planned for the next phase. Results show an almost 100 percent cancer cell toxicity rate after six hours of illumination, and 80 percent after 48 hours.

Also, since the antibody only targets the , surrounding healthy cells are not affected, unlike other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Rozhkova said that a proof of concept is demonstrated, and other cancers can be treated as well using different targeting molecules, but research is in the early stages.

More information: This work is published in a Nano Letters and is available online at pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/nl901610f .

Source: Argonne National Laboratory (news : web)

Explore further: Clinical trial evaluating brain cancer vaccine is underway

Related Stories

Clinical trial evaluating brain cancer vaccine is underway

October 19, 2007

A clinical trial evaluating a brain cancer vaccine in patients with newly diagnosed brain cancer has begun at NYU Medical Center. The study will evaluate the addition of the vaccine following standard therapy with surgery ...

Cancer stem cells: know thine enemy

December 21, 2007

Stem cells -- popularly known as a source of biological rejuvenation -- may play harmful roles in the body, specifically in the growth and spread of cancer. Amongst the wildly dividing cells of a tumor, scientists have located ...

Herceptin targets breast cancer stem cells

July 9, 2008

A gene that is overexpressed in 20 percent of breast cancers increases the number of cancer stem cells, the cells that fuel a tumor's growth and spread, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive ...

Researchers find molecule that targets brain tumors

December 29, 2008

UC Davis Cancer Center researchers report today the discovery of a molecule that targets glioblastoma, a highly deadly form of cancer. The finding, which is published in the January 2009 issue of the European Journal of Nuclear ...

Recommended for you

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base

September 2, 2015

Rice University scientists have theoretically determined that the properties of atom-thick sheets of boron depend on where those atoms land.

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

webitube
not rated yet Aug 19, 2009
"Results show an almost 100 percent cancer cell toxicity rate after six hours of illumination, and 80 percent after 48 hours." -- Can someone please explain this? Does this mean that the toxicity rate drops from nearly 100% down to 80% as the treatment proceeds from the 6th hour to the 48th hour?
E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Aug 19, 2009
COOL the site and the tumor will shrink.

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.