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UCLA researchers develop new nanomaterials to deliver anti-cancer drugs to cells

Researchers at UCLA have successfully manipulated nanomaterials to create a new drug-delivery system that promises to solve the challenge of the poor water solubility of todays most promising anticancer drugs and thereby increase their effectiveness.

The poor solubility of anticancer drugs is one of the major problems in cancer therapy because the drugs require the addition of solvents in order to be easily absorbed into cancer cells. Unfortunately, these solvents not only dilute the potency of the drugs but create toxicity as well.

In a paper scheduled to be published in the nanoscience journal Small in June, researchers from UCLAs California NanoSystems Institute and Jonsson Cancer Center report a novel approach using silica-based nanoparticles to deliver the anticancer drug camptothecin and other water-insoluble drugs into human cancer cells.

The study is led by Fuyu Tamanoi, UCLA professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and director of the Jonsson Cancer Centers Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area, and Jeffrey Zink, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Tamanoi and Zink devised a method for incorporating the representative hydrophobic anticancer drug camptothecin into the pores of fluorescent mesoporous silica nanoparticles and delivering the particles into a variety of human cancer cells to induce cell death. The results suggest that the mesoporous silica nanoparticles might be used as a vehicle to overcome the insolubility problem of many anticancer drugs.

Silica nanomaterials show promise for delivering camptothecin and other water-insoluble drugs, Tamanoi said. We have successfully loaded hydrophobic anticancer drugs into mesoporous nanoparticles and delivered them into human cancer cells to induce cell death.

The beauty of our findings is that these nanoparticles are biocompatible, contain tubular pores and are relatively easy to modify, Zink said. A
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Contact: Jennifer Marcus
jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu
310-267-4839
University of California - Los Angeles
6-Jun-2007


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