Heating Targeted Cancer Drugs Increases Uptake In Tumor Cells

Heating Targeted Cancer Drugs Increases Uptake In Tumor Cells
Liposomes (Image source)
Scientists have found that gentle heating of targeted nano-sized drug parcels more effectively deliver them to tumour cells - resulting in an improvement in survival rates. The research was published in the Journal of Controlled Release.

One of the clinically-established methods for the delivery of cancer chemotherapy drugs has been to package the drug inside nano-sized containers, known as liposomes. This allows the drug to more effectively localise into cancer tissue and reduces side-effects by limiting drug-infused liposome uptake in healthy cells.

The effectiveness of these liposomes has been further improved by engineering them to contain molecules (monoclonal antibodies) on their surface that allow them to better target cancer cells in combination to making them temperature-sensitive so that they release their therapeutic drug content upon mild heating.

Researchers looked at the benefits of combining both active targeting and temperature-triggered release, an approach they have previously seen promising results from on a petri dish.

The team compared liposomes with and without the ability to actively target cancer cells. They found that in combination with mild heating, the actively targeted liposomes showed greater uptake in tumour tissue in mice than those without targeting ability. This resulted in a moderate improvement in the animals' survival.
 
"The approach may help develop novel mechanistic strategies to improve targeted drug delivery and release within tumour tissue, while better sparing normal cells", the researchers conclude.
 
Based on material originally posted by University of Manchester.