New nanoparticles deliver bigger drug payload

Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have developed new nanoparticles from a modified polymer that can more efficiently load up on cancer drugs and deliver them more precisely.

These new nanoparticles inhibit the MARK signaling pathway, which helps prevent the spread of cancer cells and makes tumors more susceptible to chemotherapy.

"Current chemotherapy drugs must be administered in high concentration throughout the body in order to destroy tumor cells, translating to high toxicity and discomfort for the patient, mainly due to the effects on normal cells," co-lead author Rania Harfouche said in a release. By modifying the polymer, researchers "allow for lower drug concentrations to be used, and provide opportunity for more potent treatments with lesser side-effects for the patient."

In a study involving mice, the nanoparticles inhibited tumor growth. And the scientists say that this new approach to cancer therapy could have wide applicability.

- read the report from HealthDay