From Nanowerk News:
A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has identified a surprising new role for the immune cells called macrophages — improving the effectiveness of nanoparticle-delivered cancer therapies.
In their Science Translational Medicine report (“Radiation therapy primes tumors for nanotherapeutic delivery via macrophage-mediated vascular bursts”), the investigators describe finding how appropriately timed radiation therapy can improve the delivery of cancer nanomedicines as much as 600 percent by attracting macrophages to tumor blood vessels, which results in a transient “burst” of leakage from capillaries into the tumor.
“The field of nanomedicine has worked to improve selective drug delivery to tumors for over a decade, typically by engineering ever more advanced nanomaterials and often with mixed clinical success,” says lead author Miles Miller, PhD, of the MGH Center for Systems Biology. “Rather than focusing on the nanoparticles themselves, we used in vivo microscopy to discover how to rewire the structure of the tumor itself to more efficiently accumulate a variety of nanomedicines already in clinical use.”
Image Credit: Miles Miller, PhD, and Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD; Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital