Cancer can be tackled with a combination of drug and genetic therapies, such that the effectiveness of the individual treatments are enhanced, as shown by Yi-yan Yang and colleagues in the October 2006 issue of Nature Materials. Beyond the promise for a more effective cure, achieving this synergistic effect also means that the dosage of anticancer treatments could be reduced.
The authors used biodegradable nanoparticles made from a polymer that has both a water-loving side and an oil-loving side. When placed in a water solution the polymer spontaneously forms nanoparticles in which the oil-loving part hides in the core and the water-loving part lines the outside shell. If an oil-loving drug is present in the solution, it will be incorporated in the core. In contrast, the shell can be used to bind DNA or RNA.
The researchers loaded the nanoparticles with a potent anticancer drug and therapeutic gene, and injected them in mouse tumours, and observed a significantly slower growth rate in the tumour.
Yi-Yan Yang (Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The Nanos, Singapore)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Materials press release.
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