Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have come up with a nanotechnology approach to solving a long existing limitation of certain cancer drugs. While many meds attack tumor cells from within, others are designed to attack cellular membranes and nearby vasculature (angiogenesis). These latter drugs only work when they’re near but not absorbed by the tumor cells. This challenge of preventing the drugs from being swept away by the body yet not entering the interior of cells limits the drugs’ effectiveness.
The new approach by the North Carolina team takes two such drugs and encompasses them within tiny nanocapsules that are only 100 nm in diameter, each of which is peppered with the human serum albumin. These capsules themselves have even smaller capsules attached to them, all filled with the transglutaminase enzyme.
When injected into the blood, the smaller capsules are opened by the hyaluronidase enzyme, often present in large quantities around certain tumors. The transglutaminase enzyme is released and it works to connect the human serum albumin proteins together. This creates a web of sorts, keeping the drug inside. Because the whole structure is too big to be absorbed by cells, it stays put and can release its cargo as it breaks down.
The researchers tested the technology on animal models of breast cancer tumors, finding that the approach was a lot better at targeted delivery of the drugs used.
Source: North Carolina State University…