Collaborative Research Team Announces Promising Findings for Nanoparticles for Treatment of Tumors
NWN Learns More About The Research and Next Steps From Lead Researcher Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD, of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.This month, a collaborative university research team, led by Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research at the University of California-Santa Barbara, announced it has created multifunctional nanoparticles that are able to seek tumors, bind to their blood vessels, and attract more nanoparticles to the tumor target. The team used breast cancer tumors to test its novel nanoparticles, and discovered that they could block up to 20% of the blood vessels in the tumor.
The multi-institutional team was formed several years ago, Dr. Ruoslahti tells NWN. “We (Dr. Bhatia, Dr. Sailor, and myself) felt that our areas of expertise were complementary, and we were all interested in the emerging field of nanotechnology.” He also notes that their work with nanoparticles is just one of several projects; “we have other variations of the self-amplification theme in the works, and we all also participate in several other collaborative projects in the nanotechnology field.” Dr. Ruoslahti credits the outstanding work of their postdoctoral fellows and students, and in particular, Dr. Dmitri Simberg, who did most of the work in the PNAS paper.
Dr. Ruoslahti tells NWN that they are working on two areas to build on their research. “We want to improve the efficacy further to get more particles into the tumors and to block more tumor vessels. The current 20% rate of tumor vessels blocked is not enough to slow down tumor growth (strangle the tumor), but a higher percentage should do so. We also want to design particles that incorporate a drug delivery function. The two approaches are mutually supportive; we’ll strangle the tumor and deliver drugs into it.” He also notes the research has received “a fair amount of interest” from companies. Co-authors for the report include researchers from the AntiCancer Inc., Burnham Institute, MIT, and the University of California-San Diego.