Nanoparticles Overcome Anticancer Drug Resistance

Jun 12, 2006

Too often, chemotherapy fails to cure cancer because some tumor cells develop resistance to multiple anticancer drugs. In most cases, resistance develops when cancer cells begin expressing a protein, known as p-glycoprotein, that is capable of pumping anticancer drugs out of a cell as quickly as they cross through the cell’s outer membrane. New research from the University of Kentucky shows that nanoparticles may be able to get anticancer drugs into cells without triggering the p-glycoprotein pump.

Writing in the Journal of Controlled Release, a team led by Russell Mumper, Ph.D., describes its work using untargeted nanoparticles made of cetyl alcohol and polysorbate, which the investigators have named E78 nanoparticles, as a delivery vehicle for the potent anticancer drug paclitaxel. Biodistribution studies with the formulation and with free paclitaxel revealed few significant differences in which the active drug ends up in the body.

Next, the investigators injected the nanoparticle-entrapped paclitaxel, empty nanoparticles, free paclitaxel, or saline directly into paclitaxel-resistant human colon tumors growing in mice. Nineteen days after injection, tumors in the animals treated with nanoparticle-entrapped paclitaxel were 47 percent smaller than those treated with free paclitaxel and 70 percent smaller than those in animals treated with plain nanoparticles or saline.

One surprising finding from this study was the fact that free paclitaxel had any effect at all on tumors known to be resistant to the drug. Further investigation showed that this effect was likely a result of paclitaxel’s ability to inhibit angiogenesis. The researchers concluded that nanoparticulate-entrapped paclitaxel was able to suppress tumor growth by killing tumor cells directly and through inhibition of angiogenesis.

This work is detailed in a paper titled, “In-vivo efficacy of novel paclitaxel nanoparticles in paclitaxel-resistant human colorectal tumors.” Based in part on these results, the NCI is now funding further work with a tumor-targeted version of this nanoparticle to determine if it can be used to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients. An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles

Related Stories

How scorpion venom could yield new cancer treatment

Jan 07, 2015

In the development of new drugs, taking something from nature and modifying it has been a successful tactic employed by medicinal chemists for years. Now, with the help of nanotechnology, researchers are ...

Gold nanoparticles: A new delivery for cancer drugs

May 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —The protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a powerful weapon in the arsenal to control cancer. Unfortunately, as is the case with many potent cancer therapies, the use of TNF-alpha as an anti-cancer ...

Recommended for you

Scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles

Mar 30, 2015

Biomedical researchers led by Dr. Gang Zheng at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre have successfully converted microbubble technology already used in diagnostic imaging into nanoparticles that stay trapped in tumours to potentially ...

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines

Mar 26, 2015

The latest DNA nanodevices created at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM)—including a robot with movable arms, a book that opens and closes, a switchable gear, and an actuator—may be intriguing ...

Simple method of binding pollutants in water

Mar 26, 2015

New types of membrane adsorbers remove unwanted particles from water and also, at the same time, dissolved substances such as the hormonally active bis-phenol A or toxic lead. To do this, researchers at the ...

Gold nanoparticles for targeted cancer treatment

Mar 26, 2015

The use of tiny drug-loaded nanocarriers for the safe, targeted delivery of drugs to designated parts of the body has received much press in recent years. Human trials of nanocarriers targeting pancreatic ...

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.