New NanoDrug Kills Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a new nano drug candidate that kills triple negative breast cancer cells.
Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most aggressive and fatal types of breast cancer. The research will help clinicians target breast cancer cells directly, while avoiding the adverse, toxic side effects of chemotherapy.
Researchers led by Hassan Beyzavi, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, linked a new class of nanomaterials, called metal-organic frameworks, with the ligands of an already-developed photodynamic therapy drug to create a nano-porous material that targets and kills tumor cells without creating toxicity for normal cells.
Metal-organic frameworks are an emerging class of nanomaterials designed for targeted drug delivery. Ligands are molecules that bind to other molecules.
“With the exception of skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women,” said Beyzavi. “As we know, thousands of women die from breast cancer each year. Patients with triple negative cells are especially vulnerable, because of the toxic side effects of the only approved treatment for this type of cancer. We’ve addressed this problem by developing a co-formulation that targets cancer cells and has no effect on healthy cells.”
Researchers in Beyzavi’s laboratory focus on developing new, targeted photodynamic therapy drugs. As an alternative to chemotherapy – and with significantly fewer side effects – targeted photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is a noninvasive approach that relies on a photosensitizer that, upon irradiation by light, generates so-called toxic reactive oxygen species, which kill cancer cells. In recent years, PDT has garnered attention because of its ability to treat tumors without surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
The study was published in June issue of Advanced Therapeutics.