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Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment

Date:
February 3, 2016
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
A new way to use the empty shell of a hepatitis E virus has been developed to carry vaccines or drugs into the body. The technique has been tested in rodents as a way to target breast cancer, and is available for commercial licensing.
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Hepatitis E virus capsids can resist passing through the digestive system. These virus-like particles could be used to carry vaccines or drugs into the body through the oral route. By modifying the capsid proteins, UC Davis researchers show that they can attach molecules to the particle surface that target breast cancer cells.
Credit: Marie Stark/UC Davis

UC Davis researchers have developed a way to use the empty shell of a Hepatitis E virus to carry vaccines or drugs into the body. The technique has been tested in rodents as a way to target breast cancer, and is available for commercial licensing through UC Davis Office of Research.

Hepatitis E virus is feco-orally transmitted, so it can survive passing through the digestive system, said Marie Stark, a graduate student working with Professor Holland Cheng in the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Cheng, Stark and colleagues prepared virus-like particles based on Hepatitis E proteins. The particles do not contain any virus DNA, so they can't multiply and spread and cause infections.

Such particles could be used as vaccines that are delivered through food or drink. The idea is that you would drink the vaccine, and after passing through the stomach the virus-like particles would get absorbed in the intestine and deliver vaccines to the body.

But the particles could also be used to attack cancer. Stark and Cheng did some tinkering with the proteins, so that they carry sticky cysteine amino acids on the outside. They could then chemically link other molecules to these cysteine groups.

They worked with a molecule called LXY-30, developed by researchers at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is known to stick to breast cancer cells. By using a fluorescent marker, they could show that virus-like particles carrying LXY-30 could home in on breast cancer cells both in a laboratory dish and in a mouse model of breast cancer.

Results of the study are published in the journal Nanomedicine.

So perhaps one day, cancer patients might drink their medicine and UC Davis-designed virus-like particles carrying anticancer drugs will home in on their target.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of California - Davis. Original written by Andy Fell. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chun-Chieh Chen, Li Xing, Marie Stark, Tingwei Ou, Prasida Holla, Kai Xiao, Shizuo G Kamita, Bruce D Hammock, Kit Lam, R Holland Cheng. Chemically activatable viral capsid functionalized for cancer targeting. Nanomedicine, 2016; 11 (4): 377 DOI: 10.2217/nnm.15.207

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203150123.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2016, February 3). Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203150123.htm
University of California - Davis. "Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203150123.htm (accessed May 27, 2017).

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