Nanomedicine technologies have advanced through the research done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The institute recently discovered a new drug delivery system that can attack cancer cells which are present bones. This system should increase bone strength as well as bone volume in order to control the growth of cancerous cells.
“Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” published last week discussed this nano technology. Bone is a very favorable place for cancer cells to grow and multiply in large numbers especially from certain parts of the body such as the breasts, prostate and blood. This nano particle system selectively targets the bones and releases the drug in a very subtle way, thus enhancing the growth and strength of the bone.
Bone cancers spread rapidly and this nano particle system will effectively alter the growth of the cancerous cells so as to avoid further spread of cancer in and around the bones.
Scientists paired these rare stealth nano particles (which are uniquely formed by biodegradable polymers) with therapeutic agents which are from the bisphosphonate class of drugs. Bisphosphonates have the natural tendency to bind to calcium which is abundantly present in bones. The nano particles are covered with alendronate which gets attracted to bone tissue; thus delivering the drugs present in it is much faster.
The nano particle theory was tested on a group of mice which were injected with nano particles containing Bortezomib and then with myeloma cancer cells. The result was that myeloma, a bone cancer, showed very slow progression and the mice a longer survival time.
Irene Ghobrial MD, senior author of the study, suggested that this treatment has paved a pathway for further clinical trials to prevent cancer metastasis in patients with multiple myeloma. It can be extremely useful in patients with bone metastasis.
Penned by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD
- A. Swami et al. Engineered nanomedicine for myeloma and bone microenvironment targeting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401337111
- Shyh –Dar Li et al. Stealth Nanoparticles : High Density but sheddable PEG is a key for tumor targeting. J Control Release. Aug 3, 2010; 145(3): 178–181.