Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny gems take big step toward battling cancer

Date:
March 21, 2011
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Researchers have now demonstrated the significance and translational potential of nanodiamonds in the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers. In studies of liver and breast cancer models in vivo, the team found that a normally lethal amount of a chemotherapy drug when bound to nanodiamonds significantly reduced the size of tumors in mice. Survival rates also increased and no toxic effects on tissues and organs were observed.

Chemotherapy drug resistance contributes to treatment failure in more than 90 percent of metastatic cancers. Overcoming this hurdle would significantly improve cancer survival rates.

Dean Ho, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at Northwestern University, believes a tiny carbon particle called a nanodiamond may offer an effective drug delivery solution for hard-to-treat cancers.

In studies of liver and breast cancer models in vivo, Ho and a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and clinicians found that a normally lethal amount of a chemotherapy drug when bound to nanodiamonds significantly reduced the size of tumors in mice. Survival rates also increased and no toxic effects on tissues and organs were observed.

This is the first work to demonstrate the significance and translational potential of nanodiamonds in the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers. The results will be published March 9 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

"Our results show the nanodiamond's enormous translational potential towards significantly improving the efficacy of drug-resistant cancer treatment and simultaneously improving safety," said Ho, who led the research and is corresponding author of the paper. "These are critical benefits. We chose to study these chemo-resistant cancers because they remain one of the biggest barriers to treating cancer and improving patient survival."

Ho is with Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Nanodiamonds are carbon-based materials approximately 2 to 8 nanometers in diameter. Each nanodiamond's surface possesses functional groups that allow a wide spectrum of compounds to be attached to it, including chemotherapy agents.

The researchers took these nanodiamonds and reversibly bound the common chemotherapy drug doxorubicin to them using a scalable synthesis process, which enhances sustained drug release.

Ho and his colleagues studied mouse models with liver and breast cancers. In these resistant cancers, drugs are able to get inside the tumors but are kicked right back out because of an innate response in the liver and breast to expel these drugs.

They treated one group of animals with the doxorubicin-nanodiamond complexes and another group with the drug alone. In those treated with the nanodiamond complexes, the chemotherapeutic remained in circulation longer -- up to 10 times longer -- than those treated with the drug alone. In addition, the drug itself was retained within both types of tumors for a significantly longer period of time. Such a high retention rate means a smaller amount of the very toxic drug would need to be administered, thus reducing side effects.

The researchers also found that the drug-nanodiamond complexes had no negative effect on the white blood cell count. This is especially important for cancer treatment: if the white blood cell count drops below a certain level, treatment is stopped due to the risk of major complications.

"Nanodiamonds have excellent biocompatibility, and the process of formulating nanodiamond-drug complexes is very inexpensive," said Edward K. Chow, a postdoctoral fellow with the G.W. Hooper Foundation and the University of California, San Francisco, and first author of the paper. "Nanodiamonds possess numerous hallmarks of an ideal drug delivery system and are promising platforms for advancing cancer therapy."

The paper is titled "Nanodiamond Therapeutic Delivery Agents Mediate Enhanced Chemoresistant Tumor Treatment." In addition to Ho and Chow, other authors of the paper are Xue-Qing Zhang, Mark Chen, Robert Lam, Erik Robinson, Houjin Huang and Daniel Schaffer, from Northwestern; Andrei Goga, from the University of California, San Francisco; and Eiji Osawa, from the NanoCarbon Research Institute, Japan.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. E. K. Chow, X.-Q. Zhang, M. Chen, R. Lam, E. Robinson, H. Huang, D. Schaffer, E. Osawa, A. Goga, D. Ho. Nanodiamond Therapeutic Delivery Agents Mediate Enhanced Chemoresistant Tumor Treatment. Science Translational Medicine, 2011; 3 (73): 73ra21 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001713

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Tiny gems take big step toward battling cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309141727.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2011, March 21). Tiny gems take big step toward battling cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309141727.htm
Northwestern University. "Tiny gems take big step toward battling cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309141727.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
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