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Nanoporous Particles Support Therapies To Treat Tumors: Research

Drug delivery vehicles that are capable of ferrying labile molecular therapies deep into the body have been created by two teams of investigators using nanoporous silicon particles.

The first team of investigators is from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, while members from the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory comprises the second team, reports

The first team is aiming to develop new methods of delivering therapeutic small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules to tumors, whereas the second team is developing methods for delivering therapeutic antibodies to tumors.

Clinical trials of siRNA, which is potential approach to anticancer therapy, were conducted in humans; however, delivering siRNA molecules needs help as they are rapidly degraded in the body.

The first team addressed this problem by first encapsulating siRNA molecules in lipid-based nanoparticles. The team decided to load their nanoparticle-siRNA construct into the pores of biocompatible nanoporous silicon particles and then injected their drug delivery vehicle into mice with human ovarian tumors.

After three weeks, the researchers found that tumors had shrunken significantly and that the siRNA agent was still exerting its biological effect, while the toxicities were minimal or non-existent.

Meanwhile, the second team used nanoporous silicon to entrap large numbers of monoclonal antibodies that target a specific tumor-associated protein known as CTLA-4, the website reported.

According to the team, nanoporous silicon particles could act as a reservoir that would maintain therapeutic levels of antibody right at the tumor site while reducing the overall antibody amount moving freely in the body.

In order to ascertain this, the team injected their construct directly into melanomas growing in mice, while a second set of mice was injected with CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies into peritoneal cavity, as a control.

The researchers found a month-long suppression of tumor growth with no toxicity after the antibodies delivered using nanoporous silicon, while CTLA-4 antibodies alone had little effect on tumor growth.

The first group of animals also lived far longer than the second group, the website quoted the research paper, ‘Local Release of Highly Loaded Antibodies from Functionalized Nanoporous Support for Cancer Immunotherapy’, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.