Nanoparticles Could Stop Cancer Drugs from Damaging Healthy Tiss15 years ago
Posted on Dec 07, 2003, 10 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK have been awarded a grant of more than
Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK have been awarded a grant of more than £200,000 ($330,000) to develop "nanoparticles" capable of encasing toxic chemotherapy drugs and stopping them from damaging healthy tissues. The researchers have already developed minute particles - less than one ten-thousandth of a millimetre in diameter - from polymers capable of encasing toxic chemotherapy drugs. However, even at small sizes such as this the particles are so big that the only points at which they can exit the bloodstream are at the tumor site and the liver. Furthermore, as the outside of the particle has been engineered to be attracted to water, the amount that can be extracted by the liver every time it passes by in the bloodstream is limited. Early versions of the polymer were only capable of carrying small amounts of drugs, and they didn't hold onto the drug for very long. However, according to study leader Dr Martin Garnett, the new polymers being used to make the particles "should be suitable for delivering a wide range of drugs." At present, the particles are being tested with less toxic anti-inflammatory drugs. If trials are successful and the particles can be used to deliver highly toxic drugs, they should help to significantly reduce the side effects caused by anti-cancer drugs.
SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.bbc.co.uk on the 6th June 2003.