Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nanomedicine as a potential game-changer for cancer drugs

(Nanowerk News) The protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a powerful weapon in the arsenal to control cancer. Unfortunately, as is the case with many potent cancer therapies, the use of TNF-alpha as an anti-cancer therapy has been severely limited. “It was so toxic that it caused death,” and researchers gave up on it, explains Scott McNeil, director of the Nanotechnology Characterization Lab at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

That was back in the 1990s. Today, TNF-alpha is a prime example of how to safely and effectively deliver toxic substances to cancer cells through the use of nanotechnology.

McNeil’s lab, part of the federally funded research and development center operated by SAIC-Frederick for the National Cancer Institute, worked with a drug company to reformulate TNF-alpha by coupling it with gold nanoparticles. Using the nanotechnology-enhanced protein, it appears possible to safely inject up to three times the amount that had been lethal with previous versions. The modified drug has been through a Phase 1 clinical trial and is entering Phase 2.

Read complete article
Subscribe to NBIC News