New research: Scientists create nanoparticles to help fight solid tumours

New Delhi:

Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the US North Carolina have discovered a possible new approach to treating solid tumours through the creation of a novel nanoparticle. Solid tumours are found in cancers such as breast, head and neck, and colon cancer.

In the study, Associate professor of cancer biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Dr Xin Ming and his team used a nanoparticle to deliver a small molecule called ARL67156 to promote an anti-tumour immune response in mouse models of colon, head and neck, and metastatic breast cancer, resulting in increased survival. The study was published online in a journal called Science Translational Medicine.

Although Immunotherapy has transformed cancer treatment, only about 20% of patients respond to treatment. Speaking on the issue, Dr Ming said, “Most solid tumours have a poor microenvironment that can make them unresponsive to conventional cancer therapeutics, including immunotherapy. But this study demonstrates that nanoparticle therapeutics is promising.”

According to Ming, the levels of an energy-carrying molecule called adenosine triphosphate, are high in tumours treated with anti-cancer therapies and quickly degraded into adenosine by a series of enzymes that are highly expressed in the tumours.

The presence of adenosine in the tumour microenvironments can lead to a poor therapeutic response. However, the nanoparticle’s design does allow the accumulation and release of ARL67156 selectively in solid tumours.

In the study, scientists tested the nanoparticle in several mouse tumour models.

Ming further said, “We found that the nanomedicine substantially suppressed tumour growth and resulted in prolonged survival”.

After this, the researchers tested how the nanoparticle worked in combination with an anti-PD-1 antibody which is common immunotherapy. Researchers noted that the treatment worked well and synergistically with anti-PD-1 therapy.

Finally, scientists evaluated the nanomedicine in a three-dimensional in-vitro model of tumours from patients with colon or breast cancers. Similar effects were observed– enhanced tumour cell death through an anti-cancer immune response.

Concluding the research, Ming said, “Our study suggests there’s a potential translation of our nanoparticle therapeutics for treating human cancers and that it might also boost the effectiveness of existing treatments. These findings warrant further evaluation.” 



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