Journal: Nature Communications
Affiliations: 13Go to article
Tiny attackers for treating tumours
© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles that carry drugs directly to cancer cells, and can be simultaneously imaged, could reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most deadly cancer in the world. Existing drugs, such as epirubicin, can have harmful side effects when they end up in the wrong cells.
A team that included researchers from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China has made a naturally fluorescent nanoparticle from short amino acids chains, which can be broken down safely in the body.
They tuned the nanoparticle to target oesophageal cancer cells and used infrared imaging to watch it making a beeline for a tumour. The researchers then loaded their nanoparticle with epirubicin and injected it into mice with oesophageal cancer, where it slowed tumour growth and had fewer side effects than when epirubicin was used alone.
Such precision drug delivery and imaging by biodegradable nanoparticles could improve the outcomes of chemotherapy for oesophageal cancer.
- Nature Communications 9, 2605 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04763-y