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

Nanomedicine Hope for Childhood Cancer

Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Researchers from UNSW's Australian Centre for Nanomedicine have developed a nanoparticle that could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy for neuroblastoma by a factor of five.

Neuroblastoma is an aggressive childhood cancer that often leaves survivors with lingering health problems due to the high doses of chemotherapy required for treatment. Anything that can potentially reduce these doses is considered an important development.

In a world-first,  the UNSW researchers developed a non-toxic nanoparticle that can deliver and release nitric oxide (NO) to specific cancer cells in the body. The findings of their in vitro experiments have been published in the journal Chemical Communications.

“When we injected the chemo drug into the neuroblastoma cells that had been pre-treated with our new nitric oxide nanoparticle we needed only one-fifth the dose,” says co-author Dr Cyrille Boyer from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

“By increasing the effectiveness of these chemotherapy drugs by a factor of five, we could significantly decrease the detrimental side-effects to healthy cells and surrounding tissue.”

This synergistic effect between nitric oxide and chemotherapy drugs had previously been reported in other cancer cell lines, but the delivery compounds were potentially toxic and had very poor stability, or shelf life.

In contrast, the UNSW-developed nanoparticle is non-toxic and has a shelf life that has been extended from two days to more than two weeks: “Drug storage is critical and this is a substantial improvement over previous nitric oxide-carrier compounds,” says Boyer.

Nitric Oxide is an important cellular signalling molecule involved in many physical and mental processes, and deficiencies have been associated with heightened susceptibility to cancer, liver fibrosis, diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases.

“If we can restore nitric oxide with these nanoparticles this could have implications for all the illnesses associated with NO deficiencies, including diabetes and neurodegenerative,” he says.

The key medical challenge, says Boyer, has been figuring out a way to deliver appropriate doses to specific sites within the body, without provoking an adverse reaction. The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine – which crosses science, engineering and medicine –  is investigating multi-disciplinary solutions.

Boyer says that while biologists have experimented with nitric oxide, mixing it with cancer cells and observing the reactions, “no one has tried to develop a platform to specifically deliver nitric oxide – that is, where you want it, when you want it”.

The next step is to test the nanoparticle on other cell lines, such as lung and colon cancer cells, and to proceed to in vivo tests. The team also included researchers from the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia based at UNSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre.

Further Information

Join For Free

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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,200+ 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

‘Game Changing’ Stem Cell Repair System
Stem cell therapies capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease or ageing could be available within a few years, following breakthrough research led by UNSW researchers.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Nanotech Weapon Against Chronic Bacterial Infections
One of the scourges of hospital infections – biofilms formed by bacteria that stick to living tissue and medical instruments – can be tricked into dispersing with the targeted application of nanoparticles and heat.
Monday, December 21, 2015
'Google Maps' for the Body
Scientists have revealed research that uses previously top-secret technology to zoom through the human body down to the level of a single cell that could be a game-changer for medicine.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Why Do Sewers Smell? Chromatography Takes on a Dirty Job
Researchers in Australia have developed a methodology for uncovering exactly what makes sewage stink.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Garden Hose A Breeding Ground For Legionnaires’ Disease
The humble backyard hose could be a bacterial breeding ground, providing the ideal conditions for the organisms that cause Legionnaires’ disease to flourish.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Scientific News
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Nanomedicine Aims to Improve HIV Drug Therapies
New research aims to improve the administration and availability of drug therapies to HIV patients using nanotechnology.
Tumor Markers Reveal Lethality Of Bladder Cancers
Researchers found that detection of certain tumor cells in early stage cancers helps identify high-risk cancers.
Gene Editing Corrects Sickle Cell Mutation
Researchers demonstrate a potential pathway to developing gene-editing treatments for sickle cell disease.
Driving Mosquito Evolution to Fight Malaria
Researchers propose insect repellent in conjunction with insecticides to extend current insecticide lifetime.
Lab-on-a-Chip to Help Detect Cancer
In this podcast, we speak to Gustavo Stolovitsky to learn about his career and the work he is doing at IBM Research.
ALS Study Reveals Role of RNA-Binding Proteins
The findings are a significant step forward in validating RNA-based therapy as a treatment for ALS.
Observing Direct Inheritance of Gene-Silencing RNA
Research has allowed for the observation of double-stranded RNA molecule being passed from parent to offspring in roundworms.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos