Researchers create new strategy for highly-selective chemotherapy delivery
Kenneth Longmuir, associate professor of physiology and biophysics, and Richard Robertson, professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, using liposomes, small areas (less than 100 nanometers in diameter) of natural molecules of lipids, such as “packages” for cancer chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin, and a small peptide molecule to “address” the package into the target tissue.
Using this technology, the research team has shown that doxorubicin was directed almost entirely on the specific page with almost no absorption by other organs, including lung, kidney and heart.
Their study appears online in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics.
Their approach is based on the fact that all tissues and organs, including all tumors, are surrounded by a dense region containing sugar molecules called polysaccharides. More importantly, the particular chemical composition of the polysaccharides is different in each tissue and organ. The chemical composition of the polysaccharides from regions of the tumor also are different from normal tissue.
The research team developed a nanocarrier system that can recognize certain types of polysaccharides, and has proven effective, specific organ delivery nanocarriers and their contents therapeutic, based on this approach targeting polysaccharide.
In their study, researchers used a peptide derived from a protein found in the Plasmodium organism that is an organization well known for its exceptional ability to exclusively target polysaccharides liver after entering the bloodstream.
The drug doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug commonly used as treatment for a variety of cancers. Although an effective agent against cancer, the usefulness of doxorubicin is compromised by its severe side effects on normal tissue. When administered in a chemotherapy regimen, doxorubicin widely distributed throughout the body, including the heart, not specifically in regions of the tumor.
The serious heart damage that results from systemic administration places limits on the dose a patient can receive. For doxorubicin encapsulated in liposomes package that includes a peptide of the guidance message on the carrier, Longmuir, Robertson and his colleagues showed that doxorubicin may be actually delivered to the liver, and from the heart, with a specificity exceeding 100: 1.
The next step in this research is to test the properties of the delivery system in various experimental models of cancer. The liposomes with peptides are being developed to specifically address the unique characteristics of the tumors, to provide rapid and effective chemotherapeutic agents to tumor regions.