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Nanoparticles take new angles on cancer

  July 21/28, 2008
A pair of nanoparticle-based drugs embody new approaches to cancer treatment. The first uses a combination of magnetic nanoparticles and biological molecules that target ovarian cancer cells. The biological molecules bind the nanoparticles to the cancer cells, and then it's possible to draw the cancer cells out of the body using a magnetic field. A study with mice showed that the technique can draw cancer cells out of the lining of the abdominal cavity.

The technique could lead to dialysis-like treatments for various cancers.

The second new approach uses chemotherapy-carrying nanoparticles that target genes expressed in the blood vessels that supply cancer tumors. The nanoparticle drug decreases the metastatic spread of cancer cells 15 times more effectively than the chemotherapy drug alone.

Research paper:
Magnetic Nanoparticle-Peptide Conjugates for in Vitro and in Vivo Targeting and Extraction of Cancer Cells
Journal of the American Chemical Society, published online July 9, 2008
Nanoparticle-mediated Drug Delivery to Tumor Vasculature Suppresses Metastasis
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 8, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Z. John Zhang
McDonald Lab
Wolfgang Wrasidlo
David A. Cheresh

Related stories and briefs:
Off-the-shelf nanoparticles -- a method for designing many types of nanoparticles

Back to TRN July 21/28, 2008

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