Double-Duty Nanoparticles Overcome Drug Resistance in Tumors
Cancer cells, like bacteria, can develop resistance to drug therapy. In fact, research suggests strongly that multidrug resistant cancer cells that remain alive after chemotherapy are responsible for the reappearance of tumors and the poor prognosis for patients whose cancer recurs. Indeed, multidrug resistance occurs in over 50% of patients whose ovarian cancer relapses, accounting in large part for the high mortality associated with ovarian cancer.
In an attempt to circumvent the mechanisms that cancer cells use to avoid cell death following chemotherapy, researchers at Northeastern University, led by Mansoor Amiji, Ph.D., have created a polymeric nanoparticle that delivers a one-two punch to multidrug resistant ovarian cancer cells. The first blow comes from the drug ceramide, which overwhelms an enzyme that drug-resistant tumor cells use to avoid apoptosis, the programmed cell death that chemotherapy triggers. The nanoparticle delivers its second blow in the form of paclitaxel, a potent anticancer agent used as a first-line therapy for ovarian cancer. Amiji, the principal investigator of one of the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships, and his colleagues published their results in the journal Cancer Research.
Using drug-resistant ovarian cancer cells growing in culture, the investigators showed that treatment with the multifunctional nanoparticle produced 100% mortality among the cultured cells. Moreover, ceramide co-therapy sensitized the drug-resistant cells to such a degree that they became as sensitive to the cell-killing effects of paclitaxel as are non-drug-resistant ovarian tumor cells. The researchers note that followup experiments showed that nanoparticle-delivered ceramide, in fact, did restore the drug-resistant cells' ability to undergo apoptosis.
This work, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, is detailed in the paper "Modulation of intracellular ceramide using polymeric nanoparticles to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer." Investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital also participated in this study. An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed.
There's great hope with this method. I am so glad they are working on it with ovarian.
Here's something I read this morning. (about the poisoning that I mentioned with an Atlanta oncologist) Maybe he wasn't far off--chemo is similar.
This is quoted from Ivanhoe email.
Something that fascinates me, for instance, is how arsenic, a known, deadly poison, has successfully helped treat certain leukemia patients. Read our report from Wake Forest on the exciting results of the trial study, where 77-percent of the APL patients who got small amounts of arsenic therapy along with their standard cancer treatment remained alive and in remission three years later, compared to only 59-percent of those solely on standard chemo.
I remember reading about a person who died in the infusion center from REGULAR chemotherapy because they just gave them too much. Chemo is just so harmful (in general). I'm sad our 21st century is not the stuff of sci-fi because the day we can get rid of it and go to something better will be a good day!
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