Nanoparticles ‘could target cancers in bone tissue’

3 July 2014

An experimental treatment that uses nanoparticles could be used to target cancer cells within bones, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team discovered that when the microscopic balls were designed to target bones they were able to slow the growth of tumours in mice.

Although more investigation is needed, the scientists believe the findings suggest this approach would be suitable in the treatment of myeloma, as well as breast, prostate and lung cancers - as these can often spread to bones.

Dr Irene Ghobrial, co-author of the study, said the results symbolises a “proof of concept”. 

"This work will pave the way for the development of innovative clinical trials in patients with myeloma to prevent progression from early precursor stages or in patients with breast, prostate or lung cancer who are at high risk to develop bone metastasis," she added.

In order to deliver the anti-cancer drugs directly to bone tissue, the research team developed nanoparticles that were attracted to calcium. To achieve this, the microscopic balls were coated in alendronate, which binds to the element.

Using mice models, scientists were able to demonstrate that the nanoparticles could find and target the cancer. The treatment slowed the growth of tumours, while also strengthening the bone. 

Posted by Edward Bartel


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