Gold-coated Liposomes Could be Used to Deliver Drugs Directly to Cancerous Tissue
December 24, 2010 2:11 PM
comment(s) - last by
(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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
This would be a Godsend for cancer patients
12/24/2010 10:50:05 PM
I hope they are able to quickly develop this process to ease the pain and suffering of so many people with cancer.
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Most Popular Articles
Exclusive: If Intel and Micron's "Xpoint" is 3D Phase Change Memory, Boy Did They Patent It
July 29, 2015, 10:52 PM
Windows 10 to Get New Features in October Service Release 2 (SR2)
July 30, 2015, 5:50 PM
Quick Note: Apple Watch to Get Brick and Mortar Boost From Best Buy
July 27, 2015, 3:00 PM
Cortana Help Button is Coming Soon for $23
July 30, 2015, 5:07 PM
As iPad Sales Wane and Watch Flops, iPhone Saves Apple's Profit With Its Heroics
July 22, 2015, 6:13 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information