Scientists at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a way to make tumour cells more susceptible to certain types of cancer treatment. They have done this by coating the cells with nanoparticles before delivering drugs.
By putting hundreds of tiny particles on the surfaces of tumour cells, scientists were able to make the cells more vulnerable to attack by a drug that triggers cancer cells to commit suicide. It seemed as though the tethered nanoparticles increased forces exerted on the cells by flowing blood, which made the cells more likely to die.
In tests on mice, the tethered nanoparticles made the cell-suicide-inducing drug 50 percent more effective, and this combination killed up to 90 percent of mouse tumour cells.
The effect of the treatment appeared to be specific to the tumour cells and did not induce cell death in healthy cells, which is very good news and implies a new set of cancer treatment drugs could be on their way.
Source of this news
- Michael J. Mitchell, Jamie Webster, Amanda Chung, Pedro P. G. Guimarães, Omar F. Khan, Robert Langer. Polymeric mechanical amplifiers of immune cytokine-mediated apoptosis. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 14179 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14179
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Tethered nanoparticles make tumor cells more vulnerable: New strategy could improve the performance of some immune-based drugs.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170320081519.htm>.