Tethered nanoparticles make tumor cells more vulnerable

 

MIT researchers have devised a way to make tumor cells more susceptible to certain types of cancer treatment by coating the cells with nanoparticles before delivering drugs.

By tethering hundreds of nanoparticles to the surfaces of tumor cells in the presence of a mechanical force, the researchers made the cells much more vulnerable to attack by a drug that triggers cancer cells to commit suicide. It appears that the tethered nanoparticles increase the forces exerted on the cells by flowing blood, which makes the cells more likely to die.

“When you attach many particles to the membranes of these cells, and then expose them to forces that mimic those in the human body, like blood flow, these therapeutics become more effective. It’s a way of amplifying the forces on the cells using polymeric materials,” says Michael Mitchell, a postdoc at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the lead author of the study.

In tests in mice, the researchers found that the tethered nanoparticles made the cell-suicide-inducing drug 50 percent more effective, and this combination eliminated up to 90 percent of tumor cells in the mice.

Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, is the senior author of the paper, which appears in the March 20 issue of Nature Communications (“Polymeric mechanical amplifiers of immune cytokine-mediated apoptosis“).

 

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2017-03-21T10:00:22+00:00

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