Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Research team uses nanotechnology to deliver targeted cancer treatment

On Target: Lavasanifar (left) and fellow researcher Samar Hamdy are developing complex nanoparticles that range from 100 to 500 nanometres in size.  Photo by Pete Yee
On Target: Lavasanifar (left) and fellow researcher Samar Hamdy are developing complex nanoparticles that range from 100 to 500 nanometres in size. Photo by Pete Yee

Abstract:
A team of researchers at the University of Alberta are using tiny technology for a big purpose — the improvement of cancer treatment.

By Jonathan Taves, Deputy News Editor

Research team uses nanotechnology to deliver targeted cancer treatment

Alberta | Posted on March 9th, 2010

The group, led by Afsaneh Lavasanifar, an associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy, is working on a nanoparticle that boost the human body's immune system in its fight against tumours.

"Usually, the immune system of the body should recognize them and basically destroy the cancer cells. But in some cases, because of separate mutations that happen in cancer cells, they make themselves resistant to the effect of the immune cells," Lavasanifar explained.

The developers have created a nanoparticle that is bound with antigens, which are biological molecules that are taken in by cells that help immunity.

"We also load other materials that are called adjuvants and they are supposed to boost the immune response. Then together they are being captured, because their size is optimum for uptake by immune cells," Lavasanifar said. "One of the most important of these cells are dendritic cells. Dendritic cells can engulf antigens, and then they basically order other cells of the immune system what to do."

Lavasanifar added that this treatment can also boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

"Another goal we have in my research group is to target chemotherapy drugs towards the cancer cells. The long-term objective of our research group is to combine the two, chemo and immunotherapy, to get better response from both of them. We believe that combing the two approaches will lead to the eradication of the cancer [cells] and the removal of the tumour," she said.

This targeted approach can have many benefits.

"These materials are supposed to lower the dose of chemotherapy that is received by the patients. Overall, they may be cost effective because you need a smaller dose of the drug. And then you don't need to deal with the side effects of the drugs," Lavasanifar said, citing the toll standard chemotherapy procedures can have on the body.

She explained how changing the types of antigens can allow different types of cancer to be treated. One of the group's research focuses hits especially close to home, as the professor of pharmacy who started work on this project, John Samuel, succumbed to cancer at the age of 53 in 2007.

"We are trying to target the cancers that are hard to treat right now. One of those types of cancers is pancreatic cancer, for example. Another one is head and neck cancer — unfortunately, that is the type of cancer that Dr. Samuel actually passed away from," Lavasanifar noted. "He asked me to take over his staff and research program."

Aiming at different types of cells requires modification of the size and surface properties of the nanoparticles.

"If we want to target a tumour, than we have to look at a different size. We have to go below 100 nanometres," Lavasanifar explained. "By doing that, we make these nanoparticles not be recognized by the immune cells so they are not being taken up very rapidly. Then they have a chance to accumulate in the tumour."

However, Lavasanifar noted that clinical trials of the technology haven't been as promising as hoped, and obstacles remain ahead.

"People think that one of the challenges is the immune tolerance that the body develops during cancer's progression. So one of the challenges is to break the tolerance of the body against this cancer vaccine. That is one area we're doing research on," she said.

Another obstacle is the cost of such intricate treatment, but Lavasanifar is optimistic that will decrease.

"As we move along, maybe we'll find better ways to optimize these products," she said. "It's quite costly compared to what is already there, but if they are more effective for a disease like cancer, that's what we have to do."

####

About University of Alberta
The University of Alberta’s vision since its inception more than 100 years ago has been to be one of the world’s great universities for the public good. In the words of our first president, Henry Marshall Tory, the U of A is an institution directed toward the “uplifting of the whole people” in Alberta, across Canada, and around the world. This vision endures in the university’s current vision document, Dare to Discover, and our academic plan, Dare to Deliver.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © University of Alberta

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Possible Futures

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Academic/Education

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces Total of 172 Teams Selected to Compete in Solar in Your Community Challenge: Teams from 40 states, plus Washington, DC, 2 Territories, and 4 American Indian Reservations, Will Deploy Solar in Underserved Communities April 20th, 2017

Rice crew revved for Nanocar Race: Nanocar creator James Tour and team take on international competition with single-molecule marvel April 20th, 2017

The Catholic University of Rome uses the JPK NanoWizard® AFM & CellHesion® systems to understand how cells sense and respond to mechanical stimuli April 5th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

New Product Nanoparticle preparation from Intertronics with new Thinky NP-100 Nano Pulveriser April 26th, 2017

Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight multiple cancer types April 24th, 2017

Arrowhead Presents ARC-520 and ARC-521 Clinical Data at The International Liver Congress(TM) April 20th, 2017

Announcements

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight multiple cancer types April 24th, 2017

Arrowhead Presents ARC-520 and ARC-521 Clinical Data at The International Liver Congress(TM) April 20th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project