Attacking tumors with multiple drugs can profoundly increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Nanoparticles are rapidly being developed that seek out cancer cells and drop their deadly cargo precisely where needed, but combining multiple chemo agents in the same nanoparticle can be difficult. Since only two main methods exist of combining chemo with nanoparticles, encapsulation or by chemical attaching the two to each other, it’s difficult to have more than three drugs delivered together in a controlled fashion.
Scientists at MIT have now reported in Journal of the American Chemical Society on a new method of creating therapeutic nanoparticles that have any number of drugs present within their structure. This is accomplished by building the nanoparticles using components that already have the drugs within them. Each chemo agent uses a different mechanism for release into the body, including activation by enzymes and an antioxidant present inside cells, as well through using externally applied ultraviolet light. In principle, any number of drugs can be combined using the new technique, potentially offering physicians a powerful multi-agent cancer fighting platform.
Study appeared in JACS