Research offers promising new approach to treatment of lung cancer

May 22, 2013
This nanocarrier-based drug delivery system may aid in the treatment of lung cancer, bringing both drugs and siRNA into the cancer cell to help kill it. Credit: Oregon State University

Researchers have developed a new drug delivery system that allows inhalation of chemotherapeutic drugs to help treat lung cancer, and in laboratory and animal tests it appears to reduce the systemic damage done to other organs while significantly improving the treatment of lung tumors.

This advance in combines the extraordinarily small size of nanoparticles, existing , and (siRNA) that shut down the ability of cancer cells to resist attack.

The combination of these forces resulted in the virtual disappearance of in experimental animals.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. Despite advances in surgery, chemotherapy still plays a major role in its treatment. However, that treatment is constrained by the toxic effects of some drugs needed to combat it and the difficulty of actually getting those drugs into the lungs.

The findings were made by Oleh Taratula at Oregon State University and Tamara Minko and O. Garbuzenko at Rutgers University and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. They were just published in the Journal of Controlled Release.

"Lung cancer damage is usually not localized, which makes chemotherapy an important part of treatment," said Taratula, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and co-author on this study. "However, the drugs used are toxic and can cause organ damage and severe side effects if given conventionally through intravenous administration.

"A that can be inhaled is a much more efficient approach, targeting just the cancer cells as much as possible," he said. "Other chemotherapeutic approaches only tend to suppress tumors, but this system appears to eliminate it."

A patent is being applied for on the technology, and more testing will be necessary before it is ready for human clinical trials, the researchers said.

The foundation of the new system is a "nanostructured lipid nanocarrier," much smaller than a speck of dust that are easily inhaled and also readily attach to cancer cells. This carrier system delivers the anticancer drug. However, it also brings siRNA that makes the cancer cell more vulnerable.

Cancer cells often have two forms of resistance to drugs – "pump" resistance that tends to pump the drug out of cells, and "nonpump" resistance that helps keep the cell from dying. The siRNA used in this system helps to eliminate both those forms of resistance, and leaves the cancer cell vulnerable to the drug being used to kill it.

By being inhaled, this system also avoids degradation of the chemotherapeutic agents that occurs when they are injected, researchers said. They arrive in more intact form, ready to do their job on lung , while minimizing any side effects.

In more conventional chemotherapy for lung cancer, the drugs tend to accumulate in the liver, kidney and spleen, with much less of the drugs ever making it to the lungs. In this study, the amount of the drug delivered to the lungs rose to 83 percent with the inhalation approach, versus 23 percent with injection.

Explore further: FDA approves genetic test for lung cancer drug

More information: ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/38581

Related Stories

FDA approves genetic test for lung cancer drug

May 14, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration says it approved a genetic test from Roche to help doctors identify patients who can benefit from a lung cancer drug made by Genentech.

New treatment holds promise for resistant lung cancer

April 9, 2013
A new chemotherapy regimen appears to produce minimal side effects in patients with lung cancer that has not responded to previous therapy, paving the way for additional research to determine if the new regimen also helps ...

Diabetes drug makes lung cancer vulnerable to radiotherapy

May 1, 2013
The diabetes drug metformin slows the growth of lung cancer cells and makes them more likely to be killed by radiotherapy, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer today.

Drug resistance biomarker could improve cancer treatment

November 21, 2012
Cancer therapies often have short-lived benefits due to the emergence of genetic mutations that cause drug resistance. A key gene that determines resistance to a range of cancer drugs has been reported in a study published ...

Recommended for you

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.