Smart Nanoparticles To Target Lung Cancer
A new and promising approach for treatment of lung cancer has been developed by researchers at Lund University (Sweden). The treatment combines a novel surgical approach with smart nanoparticles to specifically target lung tumors. Lung tumors are often difficult to remove using current surgical techniques due to their location in the lung or the fact that there are multiple tumors which are too small to observe. Tumors also develop natural barriers to prevent drugs and immune cells from reaching the tumor cells.
Illustration of the pH-responsive mesoporous silica nanoparticles designed to specifically target lung cancer
“Therefore, patients often receive high doses of chemotherapeutics which are circulated through the entire body and lead to major side effects in other organs. While a number of new experimental therapies have been developed for lung cancer and have shown promise in the lab, a major remaining challenge has been how to deliver the right drug specifically to these difficult to reach tumors”, explains Darcy Wagner, Associate Professor and Head of the research group.
In order to overcome this challenge, the researchers behind the new study: Deniz Bölükbas and Darcy Wagner, researchers of the Lung Bioengineering and regeneration group, and colleagues developed a novel surgical technique which introduces the nanoparticles only into the blood vessels of the lung. The blood vessels around and in tumors are different than those in normal organs. The researchers used this difference to their benefit to direct nanoparticles to the interior of large and dense solid lung tumors. Bölükbas and colleagues also used animal models which have a full immune system and closely resemble the types of lung tumors that patients have.
“Using this technique, which we call ‘organ restricted vascular delivery’ (ORVD), we were able to see lung cancer cells with the delivered nanoparticles inside of them – something which has not been achieved previously in these types of lung cancer animal models, which closely resemble the clinical scenario”, explains Deniz Bölükbas, post-doctoral fellow and leading author of the article.
The new study has been published in the July issue of Advanced Therapeutics.