University of Notre Dame researchers have reached to an engineered nanoparticles that will improve the treatment of one type of the blood cancer, which is multiple myeloma (MM).
One of the difficulties doctors face in treating MM comes from the fact that cancer cells of this type start to develop resistance to the leading chemotherapeutic treatment, doxorubicin, when they adhere to tissue in bone marrow.
A sequence of images showing multiple myeloma cells internalizing the engineered nanoparticles
The nanoparticles are coated with a special peptide that targets a specific receptor on the outside of multiple myeloma cells. These receptors cause the cells to adhere to bone marrow tissue and turn on the drug resistance mechanisms. But through the use of the newly developed peptide, the nanoparticles are able to bind to the receptors instead and prevent the cancer cells from adhering to the bone marrow in the first place.
The particles also carry the chemotherapeutic drug with them. When a particle attaches itself to an MM cell, the cell rapidly takes up the nanoparticle, and only then is the drug released, causing the DNA of cancer cell to break apart and the cell to die.
While the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research have been funding the research of Mainz University Medical Center to reach a new nano medicine in order to detect the tumor cells in patients that suffer from cancer.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides over €300,000 for the next three years to fund a new research project at the Mainz University Medical Center. The project aims to detect dispersed tumor cells in cancer patients. Latest reports indicate that such detached cancer cells could play an important role for the early detection of cancer. Also, they may provide important information whether patients are indeed responding to therapy. To overcome the current limitations precluding the routine detection of these rare cells, the research network seeks to exploit a novel combination of nanotechnology combined with principles underlying hard drive technology. The research team headed by Professor Dr. Roland Stauber of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head, and Neck Surgery at the Mainz University Medical Center is embedded in the recently initiated “Magnetic Flow Cytometry” (MRCyte) project.
Almost all forms of cancer occur much more frequently in older patients than in younger people. Demographic changes and the general increase in life expectancy mean that individuals are at increased risk of developing cancer. According to the Cancer Information Service (KID) of the German Cancer Research Center, it is expected that some 486,000 new cases of cancer will be reported in Germany in 2012. Despite innovative treatments and the fact that more and more people survive their illness, cancer is still one of the most common causes of death in Germany due to its increased prevalence.