Nanoparticles coated with fungal toxin reduce reduced tumour growth in rabbits

April 3rd, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 3 (ANI): American scientists have successfully reduced tumour growth in rabbits by treating them with nanoparticles coated with a fungal toxin called fumagillin.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said that they achieved that result by administering the rabbits a drug dose which was 1,000 times lower than that used previously for the purpose.

They insisted that their work raised hopes that nanotechnology might provide an effective way to lower patients dependence on oft-harsh drugs during chemotherapy sessions.

“Many chemotherapeutic drugs have unwanted side effects, and we’ve shown that our nanoparticle technology has the potential to increase drug effectiveness and decrease drug dose to alleviate harmful side effects,” says lead author Dr. Patrick M. Winter, research assistant professor of medicine and biomedical engineering.

In an online report on their study, published in The FASEB Journal, the researchers said that the rabbits that received fumagillin nanoparticles did not show any adverse side effects.

During the study, the researchers used the nanoparticles to highlight tumour blood vessels so as to map their growth, using standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

They were surprised when the MRI scans showed that blood vessel formation tended to concentrate in limited areas on the surface at one side of tumours, instead of dispersing uniformly.

“Using the blood-vessel targeted nanoparticles, we get a far more complete view of tumour biology than we would get with any other technique. If you followed a tumour over a period of time with the nanoparticles and MRI scans, you would have a much better understanding of the tumours reaction to treatment,” Dr. Winter says.

The researchers believe that nanoparticle technology will be very useful for monitoring cancer treatment results in both the short and long term.

“It gives you a way of determining whether you should continue treatment, change the dose or even try a different treatment altogether,” says Dr. Gregory M. Lanza, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical engineering.

After using fumagillin nanoparticles in their experiments, the researchers now plan further investigations with other versions of the nanoparticles.

The nanoparticles will be tested this year in preliminary human clinical trials to determine the optimal method for using them as imaging agents.

All these studies are aimed at laying essential groundwork for using the nanoparticles as therapeutic agents. (ANI)

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