Thursday, 20 October 2016

Macrophages - vectors for a novel nanoparticle anti-cancer therapy

Fascinating new research into refractory metastatic cancer shows promise for macrophage-borne anti-cancer nanoparticle therapy.

A multi-centre team led by The Houston Methodist Research Institute postulated that the predominant cell in the tumor environment - macrophages - may have a central role in hypovascularised tissues to aid targeted delivery of nanoparticles loaded with cytotoxic drug. Importantly, unaffected tissue in vivo has significantly lower numbers of macrophages.

They developed a 3-D in vitro model that clearly showed improved efficacy for paclitaxel (complexed with albumin nanoparticles) in the presence of macrophages.

This work should be the basis for powerful new advances in tumor-targeted drug delivery, with initial interest in breast cancer-derived liver metastases.

Far-red viability probe DRAQ7 was utilised to report cell death in their model system. DRAQ7 has, elsewhere, been shown to be compatible with real-time and with 3D cell health monitoring and cytotoxicity assays as well as nanoparticle-based research. Importantly, it does not synergize with nor inhibit drug action.


Enhanced performance of macrophage-encapsulated nanoparticle albumin-bound-paclitaxel in hypo-perfused cancer lesions.

Leonard, F., Curtis, L.T., Yesantharao, P., Tanei, T., Alexander, J.F., Wu, M., Lowengrub, J., Liu, X., Ferrari, M., Yokoi, K., Frieboes, H.B., and Godin, B.

Nanoscale (2016) 8: 12544-12552 DOI:10.1039/C5NR07796F