Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Nanotech Method Show Promise Against Pancreatic Cancer

Published: Monday, November 18, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new technique for fighting deadly and hard-to-treat pancreatic cancer.

Method uses two different types of nanoparticles, the first type clearing a path into tumor cells for the second, which delivers chemotherapy drugs.

The research team, led by Dr. Andre Nel, a UCLA professor of nanomedicine and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, and Dr. Huan Meng, a UCLA adjunct assistant professor of nanomedicine, has shown that this new drug-delivery technique is effective in treating pancreatic cancer in a mouse model.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, or pancreatic cancer, is a deadly disease that is nearly impossible to detect until it is in the advanced stage. Treatment options are limited and have low success rates. The need for innovative and improved treatment of pancreatic cancer cannot be overstated, the researchers said, as a pancreatic cancer diagnosis has often been synonymous with a death sentence.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumors are made up of cancer cells that are surrounded by other structural elements called stroma. The stroma can be made of many substances, including connective tissue and pericyte cells, which block standard chemotherapy drugs in tumor blood vessels from efficiently reaching the cancer cells, reducing the effectiveness of treatment.
The dual-wave nanotherapy method employed by Nel and Meng uses two different kinds of nanoparticles injected intravenously in a rapid succession. The first wave of nanoparticles carries a substance that removes the pericytes' vascular gates, opening up access to the pancreatic cancer cells; the second wave carries the chemotherapy drug that kills the cancer cells.

Nel and Meng, along with colleagues Dr. Jeffrey Zink, a UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Jeffrey Brinker, a University of New Mexico professor of chemical and nuclear engineering, sought to place chemotherapy drugs into nanoparticles that could more directly target pancreatic cancer cells, but they first needed to find a way to get those nanoparticles through the sites of vascular obstruction caused by pericytes, which restrict access to the cancer cells.

Through experimentation, they discovered they could interfere with a cellular signaling pathway — the communication mechanism between cells — that governs the pericytes' attraction to the tumor blood vessels. By creating nanoparticles that effectively bind a high load of the signaling pathway inhibitor, the researchers were able to develop a first wave of nanoparticles that would separate the pericytes from the endothelial cells on the blood vessel. This would open the vascular gate for the next wave of nanoparticles, which carry the chemotherapeutic agent to the cancer cells inside the tumor.

To test this nanotherapy, the researchers used immuno-compromised mice in which they grew human pancreatic tumors called xenografts under the skin. With the two-wave method, the xenograft tumors had a significantly higher rate of shrinkage than tumors exposed only to chemotherapy given as a free drug or carried in nanoparticles without first-wave treatment.

"This two-wave nanotherapy is an existing example of how we seek to improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to their intended targets using nanotechnology to provide an engineered approach," said Nel, chief of UCLA's division of nanomedicine. "It shows how the physical and chemical principles of nanotechnology can be integrated with the biological sciences to help cancer patients by increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy while also reducing side effects and toxicity. This two-wave treatment approach can also address biological impediments in nanotherapies for other types of cancer."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Double Enzyme Hit May Explain Common Cancer Drug Side Effect
Mouse study suggests genomic screening before treatment may help prevent anemia.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Opening the Door to Safer, More Precise Cancer Therapies
New method regulates when, and how strongly, cancer-killing therapeutic T cells are activated.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Scientists Create CRISPR/Cas9 Knock-In Mutations in Human T Cells
In a project spearheaded by investigators at UC San Francisco, scientists have devised a new strategy to precisely modify human T cells using the genome-editing system known as CRISPR/Cas9.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Delivering Drugs to the Right Place
Thomas Weimbs has developed a targeted drug delivery method that could potentially slow the progression of polycystic kidney disease.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Designing New Pain Relief Drugs
Researchers have identified the molecular interactions that allow capsaicin to activate the body’s primary receptor for sensing heat and pain, paving the way for the design of more selective and effective drugs to relieve pain.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Genetic Markers for Detecting and Treating Ovarian Cancer
Custom bioinformatics algorithm identifies human mRNAs that distinguish ovarian cancer cells from normal cells and provide new therapeutic targets
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Using microRNA Fit to a T (Cell)
Researchers show B cells can deliver potentially therapeutic bits of modified RNA.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Digging Deeper Into Cancer
What a pathologist looks for in a Pap test sample, but hopes not to find, are oddly shaped cells with abnormally large nuclei. The same is true for prostate and lung cancer biopsies.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Researchers Un-Junking Junk DNA
A study shines a new light on molecular tools our cells use to govern regulated gene expression.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Powerful Anti-Cancer Compound Safely Delivered
Researchers have discovered a way to effectively deliver staurosporine (STS).
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Pan-Cancer Studies Find Common Patterns Shared by Different Tumor Types
Findings may open up new treatment options by extending therapies effective in one cancer type to others with a similar genomic profile.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
RNA Molecule Is Behind Behavior Changes Cued by Environment
UCSF study may point to key mechanism of cellular memory.
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Disabling Enzyme Cripples Tumors, Cancer Cells
Knocking out a single enzyme dramatically cripples the ability of aggressive cancer cells to spread and grow tumors.
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Scientists Devise Innovative Method to Profile and Predict the Behavior of Proteins
A class of proteins that are made up of multiple, interlocking molecular components, enzymes perform a variety of tasks inside each cell.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Scientific News
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
University of Glasgow Researchers Make An Impact in 60 Seconds
Early-career researchers were invited to submit an engaging, dynamic and compelling 60 second video illuminating an aspect of their research.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: Check Three Times, Cut Once
Two new studies from UC Berkeley should give scientists who use CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering greater confidence that they won’t inadvertently edit the wrong DNA.
Genetically Engineering Algae to Kill Cancer Cells
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos