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Nanoparticles Deliver Anti-Cancer Therapy


Researchers have successfully used nanoparticles to deliver tumor supressing medication, as part of a potential – and novel – anti-cancer treatment. The focus is on cancer of the liver.

Liver cancer is very difficult to treat at a late stage, as such delivering therapeutic drug is challenging. One reason is the side-effects of the medications, which can affect already damaged livers.

To overcome this with more effective and targeted delivery, researchers have developed what is described as synthetic “dendrimer” nanoparticles. In trials, these have proved effective in supressing tumors, all that without damaging the liver. Dendrimers are machine created carriers, nanoscale in size, capable of delivering drugs.

To find the appropriate type of nanoparticle, the research group screened 1,500 dendrimer candidate materials. Once selected, the nano-carrier was developed. Trials were performed on genetic mouse models with a highly aggressive form of liver cancer. The results were successful, showing marked reduction in tumor size, paving the way for further study.

It is hoped the new technique will work when it proceeds to clinical trials in people and, once available, will lower the need for surgery.

The study was carried out at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research paper is titled “Modular degradable dendrimers enable small RNAs to extend survival in an aggressive liver cancer model.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • Daphne Girl

    interesting, we keep hearing of nano technology. I’m wondering in my own ignorance of the subject, why wouldn’t you create nanoparticles that destroy the cancer instead of delivering drugs since the precision is already there?

  • Victor Grayson

    Fascinating reading.