Researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences recently completed a study that has the potential to enhance treatment for colorectal cancer and melanoma through the use of nanotechnology for the delivery of chemotherapy in a manner that's making it more effective in combating aggressive tumors. reported that according to pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetics assistant professor Jianqin Lu, BPharm Ph.D., from the UArizona College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, they've always been interested in attaching intrinsic immunity to combat cancer.

Lu, also an associate member of the UArizona Cancer Center added, to do this effectively and safely, nanotechnology comes into play due to its ability to enhance the movement of the drug and the efficacy of the treatment, not to mention the probability of reducing systematic toxicities.

The assistant professor added that his hope is that such innovative nanotherapeutics and therapeutic regimens will ultimately help cancers battle against cancers more efficiently, not to mention safely.

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Science Times - Colorectal Cancer, Melanoma May Potentially Be Treated Through the Use of This Novel Nanotechnology
(Photo: Patho on Wikimedia Commons)
Tumor invasion into a vein in a case of colorectal cancer.

ICB Therapy

Immunotherapies are helping enhance the ability of the immune system to combat cancer cells. More so, immune checkpoints serve as the immune system's regulators, which are essential in the body's prevention from indiscriminately attacking healthy cells.

Some cancer types evade such checkpoints, enabling cancerous cells to prevent detection and continue to spread. Essentially, immune checkpoint blockade or ICB, as explained in the National Library of Medicine, is a newer treatment that can vitally release brakes on the immune system. It also helps the body in fighting back.

ICB treatments work for some cancer types. However, they are not effective for all patients. For instance, Dr. Lu explained, just roughly four percent of patients who have colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of death related to cancer in the United States, are likely to respond to ICB treatment.

A recent study has focused on boosting the ICB therapies' power by integrating them with chemotherapeutic agents like camptothecin.

Even though this particular agent is potent, it is unstable too, with poor solubility in water. It can have serious side effects for healthy cells, as well.

1st Nanotherapeutic Platform of Its Kind

Dr. Lu and the whole research team developed the first nanotherapeutic platform of its kind to overcome such hurdles.

Using a nanotechnology delivery approach, the study authors improved the ability of the camptothecin to synergize with ICB treatments, resulting in more efficacy against aggressive tumors.

Dr. Lu explained, to render an ICB therapy that works more effectively, they developed a nanotherapeutic platform that can switch the tumors t immune-hot from immune-cold.

As a result, elaborated Lu, who is also a BIO5 Institute and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center member, such a platform was able to enhance the ICB therapy's efficacy to eliminate a large part of early-stage colorectal cancer tumors while simultaneously activating the memory immunity of the body, preventing recurrence of the tumor.

Researchers of the study, Immunogenic camptothesome nanovesicles comprising sphingomyelin-derived camptothecin bilayers for safe and synergistic cancer immunochemotherapy, published in Nature Nanotechnology, noted that their platform could be employed for the delivery of a range of cancer treatments, and it has a substantial head start in the drug development pipeline because it is resulting from sphingomyelin, a lipid which the US Food and Drug Administration has approved.

Lastly, Dr. Lu hopes to collaborate with oncologists at the UArizona Cancer Centre for further optimization of the nanotherapeutic system to make it appropriate for an early clinical trial phase.

Related information about nanotechnology in cancer therapies is shown on John Hopkin Institute of NanoBioTechonlogy's YouTube video below:


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