Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed a new nanoparticle-based cancer therapy to deliver a combination therapy directly to cancer cells.
The new therapy, which has been demonstrated to make prostate cancer and breast cancer tumors more sensitive to chemotherapy, is currently close to entering clinical trials.
Researchers at UEA’s Norwich Medical School have established that it can be mass-produced, making it a practical treatment if ascertained as effective in human trials.
Using nanoparticles to send the drugs straight into a tumor is a growing area of cancer study. The technology created at UEA is the first of its kind to use nanoparticles to transport two drugs in combination to target cancer cells.
The drugs, already permitted for clinical use, are an anti-cancer drug known as docetaxel, and fingolimod, a multiple sclerosis drug that renders tumors more sensitive to chemotherapy.
Fingolimod cannot presently be used in cancer treatment as it also overpowers the immune system, leaving patients with seriously low levels of white blood cells.
While docetaxel is used to treat a number of cancers, mainly breast, stomach, prostate, head, and neck, and a few types of lung cancers, its poisonousness can also result in severe side effects for patients whose tumors are chemo-resistant.
Since the nanoparticles created by the UEA team can deliver the drugs straight to the tumor site, these risks are greatly lowered. Furthermore, the targeted approach means less of the drug is required to destroy the cancer cells.