Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smart-bombing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and more

Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
University of South Carolina
Summary:
Scientists are crafting new pharmaceuticals that could dramatically improve a patient’s odds when heavy-duty drugs are prescribed. The research is focused on developing drugs with the kind of precision that the military seeks with smart bombs.

In the military, collateral damage means innocent civilians dying. In medicine, it means side effects -- and that can mean death for the patient.

But Peisheng Xu of the University of South Carolina is helping craft new pharmaceuticals that could dramatically improve a patient's odds when heavy-duty drugs are prescribed. Xu's research is focused on developing drugs with the kind of precision that the military seeks with smart bombs.

Xu's team is perfecting drugs with two molecular parts -- one that functions as a guiding mechanism, and the other as a warhead. When it comes to cancer, for example, the drugs are designed to move through the human body rather innocuously, ignoring the many good cells that make up a healthy human body.

But things quickly change when one of these two-headed drugs finds a bad guy. The drug enters the offending cell and unloads the pharmaceutical warhead, serving up a cellular annihilation that tumor cells so richly deserve.

One beauty of the approach is that many molecular warheads have already been developed.

"Lots of drugs are very effective in killing cancer cells, but when they kill cancer cells, they also kill healthy cells, or damage healthy cells," said Xu, a researcher in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. "Doxorubicin, for example, is a very powerful anticancer drug, but it will also cause heart damage -- a patient can only use a certain amount of that drug over a lifetime, otherwise the patient will have heart problems."

A polymer chemist, Xu leads a team of scientists that crafts a polymer coating, or carrier, for a drug like doxorubicin. The coating encapsulates the powerful anticancer agent, rendering it harmless until released. The polymer coating also has design features that help the drug find a tumor cell, work its way inside it, and only then release the anticancer cargo.

"The carrier I'm using is a nanoparticle," Xu said. "It has a size about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair."

Working with colleagues Remant K.C. and Bindu Thapa at USC, Xu published a paper in Molecular Pharmaceutics (released online Aug. 9, 2012) detailing a nanoparticle polymer containing a 2-(pyridin-2-yldisulfanyl) side chain that reliably releases a doxorubicin cargo after moving from an extracellular environment to an intracellular one. The polymer also has other molecular "handles" to which the chemists can attach cellular targeting moieties.

Xu and K.C. followed up with a paper in the Dec. 18, 2012 issue of Advanced Materials that shows how to use both doxorubicin and paclitaxel to provide a "cocktail therapy" option with their drugs, achieving a strong synergistic effect. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has taken notice, awarding Xu a highly competitive New Investigator Award in 2012.

And it's not just cancer that Xu has his eye on. "We're trying to extend the work into other areas as well, such as diseases of the central nervous system -- Alzheimer's disease -- and liver disease," he said. "We've also just begun a collaboration involving cardiovascular disease. The goal of my research is to give the patient the right drug, to the right tissue, to the right cell, in the right dose, at the right time."


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. Remant Bahadur K. C., Peisheng Xu. Multicompartment Intracellular Self-Expanding Nanogel for Targeted Delivery of Drug Cocktail. Advanced Materials, 2012; 24 (48): 6479 DOI: 10.1002/adma.201202687
  2. Remant Bahadur K. C., Bindu Thapa, Peisheng Xu. pH and Redox Dual Responsive Nanoparticle for Nuclear Targeted Drug Delivery. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2012; 9 (9): 2719 DOI: 10.1021/mp300274g

Cite This Page:

University of South Carolina. "Smart-bombing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and more." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144214.htm>.
University of South Carolina. (2013, March 14). Smart-bombing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and more. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144214.htm
University of South Carolina. "Smart-bombing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and more." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144214.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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