New nanoparticle therapy offers means of targeted liver cancer treatment

9 February 2016

US scientists have developed an experimental nanoparticle therapy with the potential to aid the treatment of liver cancer.

Created by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the method involves using a combination of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), a cholesterol carrier, and omega-3 fish oil as a means of selectively combating liver cancer cells.

The presence of the cholesterol-carrying proteins means the liver cancer cells will absorb the nanoparticles, with the aim of acquiring nutritional building blocks to help the tumour grow and proliferate.

However, fish oil is selectively toxic to cancer cells, meaning the LDL acts as a Trojan horse to convey the omega-3, which can help kill off the tumour while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

An experiment involving lab rats showed that 80 per cent of the subjects' tumour cells were dying after three days of treatment with the nanoparticle.

Dr Ian Corbin, senior author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said: "This approach offers a potentially new and safe way of treating liver cancer, and possibly other cancers."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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