Chemists design 'tunable,' cloaked, toxin delivery system to kill tumors from within

Oct 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers led by University of Massachusetts Amherst chemist Vincent Rotello have demonstrated that they can deliver a dormant toxin into a specific site such as a tumor for anti-cancer therapy, then chemically trigger the toxin to de-cloak and attack from within. It holds promise as a "complex and sophisticated" synthetic, therapeutic drug delivery system for living cells.

A paper describing the new host-guest chemistry approach by Rotello and colleagues, with Lyle Isaacs at the University of Maryland, appears in the current issue of Nature Chemistry.

As Rotello explains, "Supramolecular chemistry focuses on understanding what forces make molecules stick together, and using these forces to control the assembly of functional systems. This assembly process is much like Lego blocks, where bumps and dimples interact to hold like DNA and proteins together."

Specifically, Rotello and colleagues covered specialized with ligand or binding molecules (the bump) that made the particles toxic. These , however, also can strongly bind to a hollow, bowl-shaped molecule (the dimple to which the bump sticks) called a cucurbituril that can make the particle non-toxic. When the gold nanoparticles are introduced into living cells, they lie dormant. The researchers then use another molecule that binds strongly to the dimple-shaped cucurbiturils, pulling them away from the gold nanoparticle so it becomes uncloaked and toxic.

"This triggered toxicity opens up new directions for controlled chemotherapeutics, where toxicity can be tuned by and directed through choice and amount of added activator," Rotello says. "They would be capable of achieving higher levels of site-specific activity with reduced collateral damage to surrounding healthy cells."

His research group is currently exploring this strategy in cells and will be moving to in vivo systems soon to thoroughly explore issues related to real-world application of the system.

Explore further: Following a protein's travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development

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VK1
1 / 5 (8) Oct 04, 2010
Excellent finding, true marvel in chemical therapeutic cancer warfare. With the ability to locally trigger chemical assault patients undergoing chemo will lose less healthy cells during their chemotherapy which will inturn leave them healthier and able to help their fight from within.

We've got to remember the basics for warding off and fighting off cancer: nutrition ( required for cellular generation ), exercise ( required to spark cellular generation ) and mental health ( without relaxation the body does not take adequate time to regenerate ). With missing nutrients cells cope by making imperfect copies ( mutations ). Without exercise the cells of the body do not have purpose and do not require blueprints ( DNA ) to be followed, a muscle cell that doesn't retract does not require contractibility ( mutation ). Under stress the brain is prone to error, errors in cell generation are mutations. Good mutation has purpose ( evolution ) bad mutation is erroneous ( cancer ).
fixer
not rated yet Oct 04, 2010
This has to be the most complicated, expensive and unlikely speculation I have seen hereabouts in weeks!
Just how do you introduce gold nanoparticles into individual cancer cells? attach them to Iron?

"His research group is currently exploring this strategy in cells and will be moving to in vivo systems soon to thoroughly explore issues related to real-world application of the system."

I know I have said it before, but how about some actual results!
I don't think you will see this one in 5 years!
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Oct 04, 2010
Nanoparticle research appears to be the driving force behind the increase in ways to treat cancer.
In my opinion, dormant toxins need a more intelligent delivery system.
I sense silver bullet cures are on their way.

See the following Physorg.com links:
http://www.physor...760.html
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Oct 04, 2010
Here is another link:
http://www.physor...991.html
fixer
not rated yet Oct 05, 2010
Yes indeed! and here is my favourite - http://www.physor...379.html

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