Nov. 5, 1997 Chemotherapy works because it kills cancer cells. Unfortunately, the drugs can also kill healthy cells as they pass through the body on their way to the cancerous target. Many are so toxic they never make it to market.
But researchers at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy are developing a new drug delivery system that greatly reduces toxicity.
Parshant Chikhale, Ph.D., assistant professor, and colleagues report that their system delivers anti-cancer drugs directly to tumor sites, controls the delivery speed, and will not harm brain tissue.
The researchers are reporting on three studies that indicate the novel delivery system will release the drugs only in the presence of a tumor. Drug release can be controlled with this system because the bond between a novel carrier molecule and the drug can only be broken in the environment found in the presence of cancerous tissue.
By modifying the structure of the molecule, the researchers also were able to decrease and increase the speed of the chemical reaction releasing the drug. Chikhale also reports that binding amino acid-based anti-cancer agents to their molecule rendered the drugs unable to permeate the blood-brain barrier, avoiding toxicity to the brain.
Chikhale will present the findings at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists this week in Boston.
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