Breast Cancer :: Nano-shells carrying drug cocktail kills breast cancer

A new study that illustrates the broad clinical potential of polymersomes or biodegradable hollow shell nano-particles, that can carry a combination of two potent cancer-fighting drugs to a tumour, has found that they effectively carry the drugs to the tumours thus successfully killing human breast tumours.

The hollow shell nano-particles, known as polymersomes, were developed by Dennis Discher and Penn bioengineer Daniel Hammer in the 1990s.

The study, by a team of researchers led by Fariyal Ahmed, found that the carrier can be used to successfully transmit a cocktail of the drugs Taxol and doxorubicin directly to tumors implanted in mice.

Fariyal Ahmed said that the new system would be of great help as till now there was no carrier system to carry both the drugs efficiently to the tumour.

“Recent studies have shown that cocktails of paclitaxel and doxorubicin lead to better tumor regression than either drug alone, but there hasn’t been any carrier system that can carry both drugs as efficiently to a tumor. Polymersomes get around those limitations,” Fariyal Ahmed said.

Dennis Discher said that the new system provided a number of advantages over the old systems as it targets the drugs within tumour cells.

“Here we show that drug-delivering polymersomes will break down in the acidic environment of the cancer cells, allowing us to target these drugs within tumor cells. The system provides a number of advantages over other Trojan horse-style drug delivery system, and should prove a useful tool in fighting a number of diseases,” Discher said.

Their findings are presented online in the journal Molecular Pharamaceutics.

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