Print 16 comment(s) - last by gmw1082.. on Jul 14 at 9:03 AM

Another promising cancer treatment rolls off the line at UCSD.

Nanoparticles are the new medical wonder gadget. Journals are filled with new and interesting uses for microscopic particles of different makes and models being used for treatments of anything from cancer to radiation poisoning. The carbon nanotube seems to be the most popular delivery method for various treatments due to several factors like their ease of production and chemical inertness.

Some worry that these nanoparticles aren't safe over long periods of time, however. Nanotubes of certain lengths have been shown to produce results similar to those of a known carcinogen, asbestos. Other studies revolve around the tiny spears and their effects on the liver or kidneys.

University of California at San Diego researchers recently published work which uses nanoparticles to deliver chemical toxins to specific cancer cells in mice. This is not a very new development, DailyTech readers have read about several such endeavors in the past. However, UCSD's delivery method and drug approach are a little different.

First, the UCSD nanoparticles are not carbon nanotubes. Their nanoparticles are composed of lipid-based polymers instead. Second, instead of using various means of energy or activation on their nanoparticles, UCSD's are a more traditional search and destroy variety. The particles are programmed to seek out a specific protein marker called integrin ανβ3. Rather than relying on detonating a payload onsite, the particles deliver a widely used chemotherapy toxin called doxorubicin directly to the tumors, effectively killing tumor cells while leaving healthy cells in the area largely unaffected.

David Cheresh, Ph.D, the Moores UCSD Cancer Center Director of Translational Research, explains “doxorubicin is known to be an effective anti-cancer drug, but has been difficult to give patients an adequate dose without negative side effects. This new strategy represents the first time we’ve seen such an impact on metastatic growth, and it was accomplished without the collateral damage of weight loss or other outward signs of toxicity in the patient.”

While the treatment was found to have little effect on primary tumors, it effectively prevented metastasizing in pancreatic and kidney cancers of mice. Metastasis is typically more difficult to treat than primary tumors, and is often the cause of death in cancer victims. Integrin ανβ3 is expressed by tumorous blood vessels that give rise to angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels. Metastasis is more reliant on new vessel growth than established tumors, so targeting these areas with chemotherapy may help to prevent it.

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By acejj26 on 7/10/2008 11:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
wouldn't it be ironic if the nanoparticles used to kill the cancer actually cause cancer?

RE: irony
By Flunk on 7/10/2008 11:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Even if they cause cancer at the same rate as asbestos it would still be more beneficial to use them to eliminate the tumors. Would you rather keep your tumors and slightly increase your chances of growing more or just keep the ones you have?

Of course there is absolutely no evidence that they do, or any reason to think they would. Although the lack of long-term studies is worrying.

RE: irony
By Flunk on 7/10/2008 11:25:14 PM , Rating: 4
Obvious typo

Should have read:

"Would you rather cure your tumors and slightly increase your chances of growing more or just keep the ones you have?"

RE: irony
By InternetGeek on 7/11/2008 3:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, Tumors have feelings to! Don't kill them!

RE: irony
By Clauzii on 7/11/2008 5:45:38 AM , Rating: 2
It's actually only a very few that have good feelings. Most tumours are bad guys ;)

RE: irony
By Proxes on 7/11/2008 8:42:02 AM , Rating: 4
It's not a tooma!

RE: irony
By gmw1082 on 7/14/2008 9:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
Oh don't worry about that. You could just use more nano particles to wipe out the cancer caused by nanoparticles.

Carefull now.
By Clauzii on 7/11/2008 3:27:13 AM , Rating: 2
At this very early point of medical nano-tech, it is imperative that the patient don't get cut up AFTER getting home. Asbestos was/is no joke and so goes nano-tubes too.

I would really like to believe that nano-tech are a possible solution to cancer and such, but we need to be 101% sure that we know what's up.

It's also needed to study the outcome of burning/exploding chips and components. Allthough some people would say that there allready are bazillions of u-particles in the air, I really don't think it helps adding another, and another and...

RE: Carefull now.
By DarkElfa on 7/11/2008 5:40:08 AM , Rating: 3
This whole thing is nano-retarded. But, I digress...

RE: Carefull now.
By BruceLeet on 7/11/2008 5:41:03 AM , Rating: 2
All these 'cancer killing' agents will disappear when pharmaceutical companies and firms realize "we make no money no morrre :("

I think decomposing nanotubes is are coming soon
By PAPutzback on 7/11/2008 8:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine all this worry about the nanotubes behaving like asbestos will go away. Seeing as they have caught the potential for damage early I imagine there is that one guy making a nanomaterial that will break down in so many hours but just need to wait on the use for it before he sells it.

Kinda like how Intel waits for AMD to catch up before giving us the goods.

RE: I think decomposing nanotubes is are coming soon
By tmouse on 7/11/2008 9:53:18 AM , Rating: 3
Nanoparticles do not seem to have the same effects as nanotubes. Most carbon nanoparticles are biocleared in 2-4 hours. In this study these lipid particles are destroyed by fusing to the cell membranes (think soap bubbles fusing). It’s promising but early (I know people are tired of me saying this but we are a long way off from this being routinely clinical). For instance while they report things like a 70% decrease in neoangiogenesis their non targeted control also provided a 25% decrease over untreated. They reported a 91% decrease in metastatic tumor load but looking at the animal data one can see with targeted treatment 41% of the animals still developed metastatic lesions and using non targeted nanoparticles 64% developed metastases. People should also be aware antiangiogenic therapies are very successful in mice but not so successful in the human clinical trials. We also have no idea how long small groups of tumor cells can survive, you can get up to a 1mm tumor before you need vascularization. Currently this work does not completely stop vascularization, has little effect on the primary and is not better than some of the existing work in mice, which has not yielded good results in humans. It is a nice step in using a new lipid based nanoparticle, and allows the use of less toxic doses of an effective tumor killing drug. Maybe as part of a combination therapy, after all no one wants to be on antiangiogenic therapy for life.

By TheDoc9 on 7/11/2008 10:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
after all no one wants to be on antiangiogenic therapy for life.

No one wants to be, but a drug company might want them to be.

CNTs aren't Nanoparticles
By nstott on 7/11/2008 2:07:52 AM , Rating: 2
Some nitpicking on my part:

Carbon nanotubes are not typically referred to as nanoparticles (they can be referred to as nanomaterials). Nanoparticles are nanoscale in all three dimensions whereas CNTs are only nanoscale in 2 dimensions (and typically microscale in one dimension). I've also seen in other articles here where nanotubes of inorganic materials are mistakenly reported as CNTs. It's also important to note that molecules, macromolecules in particular, are not considered nanomaterials even though there are within the correct size regime. Technically, CNTs and other nanomaterials are also macromolecules but are not typically referred to as such. Thanks.

RE: CNTs aren't Nanoparticles
By Clauzii on 7/11/2008 5:59:36 AM , Rating: 2
You are definately right. I overlooked "...are NOT carbon nanotubes..." :( But ok, my point still stands I think, if this doesn't work. And IF it does, will the nano-material used get dissolved to something un-harmfull?

RE: CNTs aren't Nanoparticles
By tmouse on 7/11/2008 9:27:39 AM , Rating: 2
Your point is not nitpicking, your spot on to point these things out. I appreciate the interest these advancements make but I deplore the way many are poorly reported. I know it is very difficult to report complex advancements in a manner for laymen to understand, but careless reporting just confuses people and this in turn leads to unwarranted anticipation and disillusionment.

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