Nanoparticle program delivers anti-cancer therapy

A research team at Washington University in St. Louis has combined a nanoparticle platform used in imaging growing blood vessels and combined it with the fungal drug fumagillin to create a new weapon to fight the growth of tumors. Fumagillin has long been known as a potent anti-cancer therapy, but its neurotoxic side effects are too harsh for patients. To circumvent the side effects, the scientists adapted nanoparticles designed to dock on a protein carpeted on endothelial cells clustered on the walls of new blood vessels and loaded them with fumagillin. By targeting the therapy directly at the new blood vessels, the therapy can stop angiogenesis, a key target in oncology research.

"It basically becomes a vehicle to dump off a truckload of cargo," Joseph DeSimone of the University of North Carolina tells MIT Technology Review. "It's sort of like a Trojan horse."

There are a number of research programs underway relying on animal studies to determine the effect of new nanoparticle technologies that can interrupt angiogenesis. First-generation nanoparticle therapies rely on passive delivery methods while this second generation round of research is working on new technology aimed at more precise targeting of disease.

- read the report in MIT Technology Review

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