20 Jun 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Scientists at CIC bioGUNE and the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO) in Bordeaux are currently working on a project for developing ‘intelligent' nanoparticles. The research was first published in the online version of the Journal of Controlled Release.
According to the scientists, these polymeric particles act as ‘nanomissiles' against determined targets and enable the controlled release in space and time of pharmaceutical drugs, releasing their ‘load' only when required. A local magnetic field is controlled by this release of medication.
The nanoparticles are going to be approximately the size of a virus and chemists at the LCPO will be in charge of generating it. The CIC bioGUNE researchers will be responsible for evaluating the efficacy of a model of cell cultures.
Scientists involved in the project have said that the technique that has been developed increases the effectiveness of the treatment, as it deposits the medication directly on the affected organ, thus avoiding side effects.
The system, which is developed by the joint LCPO and CIC bioGUNE team, will enable the controlled release to an organ of a pharmaceutical drug. The nanoparticles that transport the medicine are made of polymer and contain iron oxide. On applying a magnetic field, making use of the presence of iron oxide, ‘pores' are opened at the surface of the polymer and through which the drug is released. The localized release of the medication will reduce the effect on the healthy tissue and, at the same time, the dosage used on the cancerous tissue can be made greater.
Ms Edurne Berra, researcher with CIC bioGUNE, explained that, "The local application of the magnetic field facilitates the release of the pharmaceutical drug and increases its cytotoxic effect on the cancer cells."
She further added, "The system studied not only enables encapsulating other types of pharmaceutical drugs other than doxorubicin, but it will also be able to incorporate molecules that recognize particular types of cancer cells. Moreover, it can be used for diagnosing the cancer with magnetic resonance and even in theragnosis, i.e. simultaneous diagnosis and drug therapy".