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Posted: Jun 18, 2013
Magnetic field triggers nanoparticle cancer drug release in controlled manner
(Nanowerk News) Scientists at CIC bioGUNE and the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO) in Bordeaux have undertaken a project for developing ‘intelligent’ nanoparticles. These polymeric particles act as ‘nanomissiles’ against determined targets and enable the controlled release in space and time of pharmaceutical drugs, releasing their ‘load’ only when and where required. This release of medication is controlled by applying a local magnetic field.
Chemists at the LCPO are in charge of generating the nanoparticles, which have approximately the size of a virus, while the CIC bioGUNE researchers are responsible for evaluating the efficacy of a model of cell cultures. The research has been published recently in the online version of the Journal of Controlled Release ("Magnetic field triggered drug release from polymersomes for cancer therapeutics").
The technique developed increases the effectiveness of the treatment, as it deposits the medication directly on the affected organ, thus avoiding side effects. Side effects of all chemotherapy treatment are, in general, a consequence of the toxicity of the drugs on healthy tissue (for example, hair loss), in many cases the dosage used not being the optimum and excessively toxic for the patient.
The system developed by the joint LCPO and CIC bioGUNE team will enable the controlled release to an organ of a pharmaceutical drug. The nanoparticles that transport the medicine are made of polymer and contain iron oxide. On applying a magnetic field, making use of the presence of iron oxide, ‘pores’ are opened at the surface of the polymer and through which the drug is released.
The localised release of the medication will reduce the effect on the healthy tissue and, at the same time, the dosage used on the cancerous tissue can be made greater. The benefits of this method are, thus, the reduction of side effects and the increase in the effectiveness of the treatment. In the words of the CIC bioGUNE researcher, Ms.Edurne Berra, “the local application of the magnetic field facilitates the release of the pharmaceutical drug and increases its cytotoxic effect on the cancer cells”.
Used as a model in this research was doxorubicin, a pharmaceutical drug widely used in chemotherapy against cancer. Moreover, the conclusions of this research could be he launching platform for developing new, intelligent systems for the release of other pharmaceutical drugs.
As Ms. Berra added, “the system studied not only enables encapsulating other types of pharmaceutical drugs other than doxorubicin, but it will also be able to incorporate molecules that recognize particular types of cancer cells. Moreover, it can be used for diagnosing the cancer with magnetic resonance and even in theragnosis, i.e. simultaneous diagnosis and drug therapy”.