Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotechnology may lead to new treatment of liver cancer

Date:
February 26, 2011
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Nanotechnology may open a new door on the treatment of liver cancer, according to researchers. They used molecular-sized bubbles filled with chemotherapy drugs to prevent cell growth and initiate cell death in test tubes and mice.

Nanotechnology may open a new door on the treatment of liver cancer, according to a team of Penn State College of Medicine researchers. They used molecular-sized bubbles filled with chemotherapy drugs to prevent cell growth and initiate cell death in test tubes and mice.

Researchers evaluated the use of molecular-sized bubbles filled with C6-ceramide, called cerasomes, as an anti-cancer agent. Ceramide is a lipid molecule naturally present in the cell's plasma membrane and controls cell functions, including cell aging, or senescence.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the fifth most common cancer in the world and is highly aggressive. The chance of surviving five years is less than five percent, and treatment is typically chemotherapy and surgical management including transplantation.

"The beauty of ceramide is that it is non-toxic to normal cells, putting them to sleep, while selectively killing cancer cells," said Mark Kester, Ph.D., G. Thomas Passananti Professor of Pharmacology.

Cerasomes, developed at Penn State College of Medicine, can target cancer cells very specifically and accurately, rather than affecting a larger area that includes healthy cells. The problem with ceramide is that as a lipid, it cannot be delivered effectively as a drug. To solve this limitation, the researchers use nanotechnology, creating the tiny cerasome, to turn the insoluble lipid into a soluble treatment.

"Cerasomes were designed as a therapeutic alternative to common chemotherapeutics," said Kester. "These have been shown to be toxic to cancer cells and not to normal cells, and have already been shown to effectively treat cellular and animal models of breast cancer and melanoma. Cerasomes have also been shown to be essentially free of toxic side effects normally associated with anticancer agents."

In the test tube and animal models of liver cancer, cerasomes, but not a placebo, selectively induced cell death in the cancer cells.

In mice with liver cancer, cerasomes blocked tumor vascularisation, the forming of blood vessels needed for growth and nutrition. Studies show that lack of nutrition causes cells to create more ceramide and leads to cell death.

"It is plausible that preventing liver tumor vascularization with cerasome treatment could induce widespread apoptosis, a genetically programmed series of events that leads to cell death in tumors," Kester said. "The efficacy of our cerasomes in the treatment of diverse cancers lends significant therapeutic promise as it translates from bench to bedside."

The researchers published their work in the journal Gut. A Penn State Dean's Feasibility Grant, Pennsylvania tobacco settlement funds, and the National Institutes of Health supported this work.

In an earlier study published in the journal Blood, researchers observed that cerasome use led to complete remission in aggressive, large granular lymphocytic leukemia in rats. In addition, the protein survivin, which prevents cell death, is heavily produced in NK-leukemia cells, but not in normal cells. Cerasome decreased expression of survivin and may lead to a therapeutic approach for fatal leukemia.

Other researchers are Hephzibah Rani S. Tagaram, M.D., Diego Avella, M.D, Eric. T. Kimchi, M.D., and Kevin F. Stavely O'Carroll, M.D., Department of Surgery; Nicole A. DiVittore, Brian M. Barth, Ph.D., and James M. Kaiser, Department of Pharmacology; Yixing Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Medicine; and Harriet C. Isom, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. R. S. Tagaram, N. A. DiVittore, B. M. Barth, J. M. Kaiser, D. Avella, E. T. Kimchi, Y. Jiang, H. C. Isom, M. Kester, K. F. Staveley-O'Carroll. Nanoliposomal ceramide prevents in vivo growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. Gut, 2010; DOI: 10.1136/gut.2010.216671

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Nanotechnology may lead to new treatment of liver cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122200.htm>.
Penn State. (2011, February 26). Nanotechnology may lead to new treatment of liver cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122200.htm
Penn State. "Nanotechnology may lead to new treatment of liver cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122200.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins