Gold-coated Liposomes Could be Used to Deliver Drugs Directly to Cancerous Tissue
December 24, 2010 2:11 PM
(Source: Beatriz Verdugo/UANews)
New delivery method prevents toxic chemotherapeutic drugs from killing healthy tissue
Researchers from the
University of Arizona
have devised a method that sends chemotherapeutic drugs directly to cancerous tissue without affecting surrounding healthy tissue.
The researchers working on this study include Marek Romanowski, study leader and associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona; Xenia Kachur, a third-year graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) at the University of Arizona, and Sarah Leung, a fourth-year graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering GIDP.
Up until now, chemotherapeutic drugs have been enclosed in liposomes, which are tiny capsules made of organic lipids that are naturally found in human cells. These liposomes keep an individual's immune system from attacking it before it reaches the cancerous tissue, and aid in the delivery of the drugs to kill cancerous cells. The problem is that these liposome casings do not deliver the drugs directly to
only, and they release the drugs in an uncontrollable manner. The drugs affect healthy tissue as well, killing all cells in its path regardless of whether it's cancerous or not because it has no way of knowing which cells have cancer, which is why chemotherapy has such harsh side effects such as hair loss.
But now, the University of Arizona team of researchers have found a way to
deliver drugs directly to cancerous tissue
. To do this, researchers attached gold-coated liposomes to signal molecules, which are called ligands, which interact with particular cell receptors. They say it works like "keys in a lock."
"It all depends on the disease that we're targeting, but in the case of tumor cells, they over-express certain receptors for several reasons," said Kachur. "One is tumor cells are proliferating very quickly, and so they're over-expressing a lot of nutrient receptors because they want to divide faster."
While ligands allow researchers to release the drug in the tumor region only, the gold allows them to release the drugs in controlled amounts.
"A property of gold is that it can convert near infrared light into heat," said Kachur. "By putting gold on the surface of these liposomes, we can then put in a stimulus such as near-infrared light. The gold converts the light into heat, the heat causes the liposome to become leaky, and then whatever's really concentrated inside can diffuse out through the leaky liposome."
Kachur added that infrared light interacts very minimally with most tissues, hence it penetrates deep through the body and avoids heating that your body might have had to deal with otherwise.
"By using more or less light, you can release more or less of the drug and time the responses as well, so when you trigger light, some drug will leak, you can trigger it again and have more drug leak, or you can wait a little while, let the
, do its thing, then trigger it again. It allows for a lot more freedom with the release process," said Leung. "By having this very triggered response, you can hit that therapeutic window."
The University of Arizona team noted that they still have a lot of ground to cover before this can be used as cancer therapy, but so far, the gold-coated liposomes seem like a viable alternative for current chemotherapeutic drugs. Between the ligands key-in-lock method of delivering the drugs to cancerous regions only, and the gold coating's ability to release controlled amounts of the drug to prevent the
death of healthy tissue
, researchers are well on their way to finding effective ways of treating cancer without the harsh side effects.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
Researchers Discover Possible Breast Cancer Biomarker in "Junk" DNA
December 17, 2010, 11:00 AM
Discovery Sheds New Light on How Cancer Cells Infect Healthy Tissue
December 13, 2010, 5:53 PM
New Systems of Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Developed
July 9, 2010, 11:32 AM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Phillips 55’ 4K Smart TV – Is This Really a Deal? We Think So.
November 25, 2016, 9:44 AM
Sales Battle - Apple iPad Mini vs Samsung Galaxy Tab
November 29, 2016, 12:36 AM
Echo Dot is a Best Seller - Sold Out Until December 1, 2016.
November 26, 2016, 6:00 AM
PlayStation 4 Pro – 4K Console for 4K TVs
November 28, 2016, 1:00 AM
Star Wars Android Smartphones coming to a Japanese Galaxy Near You
November 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Dec 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 2, 2016, 5:00 AM
Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Dec 1, 2016, 3:01 AM
Chapeconense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian Team
Nov 30, 2016, 1:00 AM
How to Extends Your iPhone’s Battery Life
Nov 29, 2016, 12:49 AM
Nov 28, 2016, 1:12 AM
News: Fidel Castro
Nov 27, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nov 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Changes in Social status affect the way genes turn on and off within immune cells.
Nov 25, 2016, 5:12 AM
Austrian far–right hopeful Hofer may back EU vote.
Nov 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Final Fantasy XV Leaked Before Nov 29 Launch Date
Nov 23, 2016, 1:00 AM
Nov 22, 2016, 2:26 AM
Nov 21, 2016, 1:00 AM
HTC Makes Big Moves in China
Nov 20, 2016, 2:00 AM
Do you know who is the number one company in the word?
Nov 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Foldable Cardboard ”EcoHelmet” wins James Dyson Award’s Top Prize
Nov 18, 2016, 2:39 AM
Scientists Discover Roundest Object Ever Spotted in Universe
Nov 17, 2016, 1:00 AM
Smallest Device Lets You Print Almost from Anywhere
Nov 16, 2016, 9:32 AM
Cancer Screening in the Community Is there a link between Cancer and Poverty?
Nov 15, 2016, 8:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information