Drug-Loaded Nanoparticles Image, Track, and Destroy Cancer Tumors

November 30, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Ann Arbor, MI (Nov.15)-Scientists at University of Michigan?s Comprehensive Cancer Center have devised a nanoparticle system that delivers a photodynamic drug directly to brain-cancer tumors

Ann Arbor, MI (Nov.15)-Scientists at University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (www.cancer.med.umich.edu) have devised a nanoparticle system that delivers a photodynamic drug directly to brain-cancer tumors. The particles carry “Photofrin” (Axcan Pharma PDT, Inc., Birmingham, AL, www.photofrin.com ) a cancer treatment that cuts off blood flow to the tumor, but minimizes damage to healthy tissue caused by free Photofrin in the system. Iron oxide, a contrast agent, enhances magnetic resonance imaging of the particles and a laser light activates the drug to collapse the vessels supplying blood to the tumor.

Funded by a nearly $12-million contract from The National Cancer Institute, the research study showed that the system avoids the challenges encountered by other brain cancer delivery methods, including overcoming the blood-brain barrier, while attacking the tumor with higher doses.

So far, the delivery system has been tested in cell cultures and animal models. If the nanoparticle system proves effective in humans, scientists hope to re-examine previously developed drug candidates that were discontinued because of adverse side effects in patients.

Results of the study have been published in Clinical Cancer Research (Nov. 15, 2006).

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