Oregon State University researchers have devised a way of sneaking a cancer drug vinblastine into solid tumors that would otherwise not be very welcoming of it. The investigators used “prodrug” vinblastine-N-oxide, known in a low oxygen environments within the body, such as those within solid tumors, to turn into vinblastine. It was developed by Cascade Prodrug, a company based in Eugene, Oregon. The researchers loaded this prodrug into liposomes, vesicles made of lipids, and delivered it into animals with non-small cell lung cancer. Normally the body washes out the prodrug out of itself before it has time to act, but the liposomes are intended to prevent that. The result was that the prodrug was much better at penetrating tumors and being activated to kill nearby cells than when injected without liposome shells.
More details from Oregon State:
“We made sure the nanostructure platform worked properly against lung cancer in vitro, then looked at the safety of the formulation in healthy mice and looked at the maximum tolerated dose – the biggest dose you can use without producing side effects,” [Adam Alani of the OSU College of Pharmacy] said. “Then we determined how long the nano carriers could keep the drug in the blood compared to the drug without the nanostructures.”
When those data were “very encouraging,” Alani’s team assessed the efficacy of the formulations in mice that had tumors grafted into them.
Without any liposome, the drug showed some tumor suppression, but the mice that had received the drug alone had to be euthanized after 70 days because of tumors that were no longer being controlled.
Mice that had received the drug with one of the liposomes were healthy and tumor-free for the nearly 100-day run of the experiment.
Study in Journal of Controlled Release: Characterization of pegylated and non-pegylated liposomal formulation for the delivery of hypoxia activated vinblastine-N-oxide for the treatment of solid tumors…
Via: Oregon State…
Image: Non-small cell lung cancer in a 54-year-old woman. Credit: Naturopathic Doctor News and Review