Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > A pharmacy on the back of a cell

MIT engineers have developed a way to attach drug-carrying pouches (yellow) to the surfaces of cells.  Image: Darrell Irvine and Matthias Stephan
MIT engineers have developed a way to attach drug-carrying pouches (yellow) to the surfaces of cells. Image: Darrell Irvine and Matthias Stephan

Abstract:
Drugs encapsulated in new MIT nanoparticles can hitch a ride to tumors on the surface of immune-system cells.

By Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

A pharmacy on the back of a cell

Cambridge, MA | Posted on August 17th, 2010

Clinical trials using patients' own immune cells to target tumors have yielded promising results. However, this approach usually works only if the patients also receive large doses of drugs designed to help immune cells multiply rapidly, and those drugs have life-threatening side effects.

Now a team of MIT engineers has devised a way to deliver the necessary drugs by smuggling them on the backs of the cells sent in to fight the tumor. That way, the drugs reach only their intended targets, greatly reducing the risk to the patient.

The new approach could dramatically improve the success rate of immune-cell therapies, which hold promise for treating many types of cancer, says Darrell Irvine, senior author of a paper describing the technique in the Aug. 15 issue of Nature Medicine.

"What we're looking for is the extra nudge that could take immune-cell therapy from working in a subset of people to working in nearly all patients, and to take us closer to cures of disease rather than slowing progression," says Irvine, associate professor of biological engineering and materials science and engineering and a member of MIT's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

The new method could also be used to deliver other types of cancer drugs or to promote blood-cell maturation in bone-marrow transplant recipients, according to the researchers.

T-cell therapy

To perform immune-cell therapy, doctors remove a type of immune cells called T cells from the patient, engineer them to target the tumor, and inject them back into the patient. Those T cells then hunt down and destroy tumor cells. Clinical trials are under way for ovarian and prostate cancers, as well as melanoma.

Immune-cell therapy is a very promising approach to treating cancer, says Glenn Dranoff, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. However, getting it to work has proved challenging. "The major limitation right now is getting enough of the T cells that are specific to the cancer cell," says Dranoff, who was not involved in this study. "Another problem is getting T cells to function properly in the patient."

To overcome those obstacles, researchers have tried injecting patients with adjuvant drugs that stimulate T-cell growth and proliferation. One class of drugs that has been tested in clinical trials is interleukins — naturally occurring chemicals that help promote T-cell growth but have severe side effects, including heart and lung failure, when given in large doses.

Irvine and his colleagues took a new approach: To avoid toxic side effects, they designed drug-carrying pouches made of fatty membranes that can be attached to sulfur-containing molecules normally found on the T-cell surface.

In the Nature Medicine study, the researchers injected T cells, each carrying about 100 pouches loaded with the interleukins IL-15 and IL-21, into mice with lung and bone marrow tumors. Once the cells reached the tumors, the pouches gradually degraded and released the drug over a weeklong period. The drug molecules attached themselves to receptors on the surface of the same cells that carried them, stimulating them to grow and divide.

Within 16 days, all of the tumors in the mice treated with T cells carrying the drugs disappeared. Those mice survived until the end of the 100-day experiment, while mice that received no treatment died within 25 days, and mice that received either T cells alone or T cells with injections of interleukins died within 75 days.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and a gift to the Koch Institute from Curtis '63 and Kathy Marble.

‘A much simpler procedure'

Irvine's approach to delivering the adjuvant drugs is both simple and innovative, says Dranoff. "The idea of modifying T cells in the lab to make them work better is something many people are exploring through more complicated approaches such as gene modification," he says. "But here, the possibility of just attaching a carefully engineered nanoparticle to the surface of cells could be a much simpler procedure."

While he is now focusing on immune-cell therapy, Irvine believes his cell pouches could be useful for other applications, including targeted delivery of chemotherapy agents. "There are lots of people studying nanoparticles for drug delivery, especially in cancer therapy, but the vast majority of nanoparticles injected intravenously go into the liver or the spleen. Less than 5 percent reach the tumor," says Irvine, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

With a new way to carry drugs specifically to tumors, scientists may be able to resurrect promising drugs that failed in clinical trials because they were cleared from the bloodstream before they could reach their intended targets, or had to be given in doses so high they had toxic side effects.

Irvine and his colleagues also demonstrated that they could attach their pouches to the surface of immature blood cells found in the bone marrow, which are commonly used to treat leukemia. Patients who receive bone-marrow transplants must have their own bone marrow destroyed with radiation or chemotherapy before the transplant, which leaves them vulnerable to infection for about six months while the new bone marrow produces blood cells.

Delivering drugs that accelerate blood-cell production along with the bone-marrow transplant could shorten the period of immunosuppression, making the process safer for patients, says Irvine. In the Nature Medicine paper, his team reports successfully enhancing blood-cell maturation in mice by delivering one such drug along with the cells.

Irvine is now starting to work on making sure the manufacturing process will yield nanoparticles safe to test in humans. Once that is done, he hopes the particles could be used in clinical trials in cancer patients, possibly within the next two or three years.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © MIT

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

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process – and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

Possible Futures

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Academic/Education

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Graduate Students from Across the Country Attend Hands-on NanoCamp: Prominent scientists Warren Oliver, Ph.D., and George Pharr, Ph.D., presented a weeklong NanoCamp for hand-picked graduate students across the United States July 26th, 2017

The Physics Department of Imperial College, London, uses the Quorum Q150T to deposit metals and ITO to make plasmonic sensors and electric contact pads July 13th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

JPK reports on how the University of Glasgow is using their NanoWizard® AFM and CellHesion module to study how cells interact with their surroundings August 2nd, 2017

Announcements

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

JPK reports on how the University of Glasgow is using their NanoWizard® AFM and CellHesion module to study how cells interact with their surroundings August 2nd, 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