UCLA researchers have discovered a new nanothechnology-based chemotherapy which may increase the survival rate of pancreatic cancer.

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Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a new microscopic method for drug delivery that has successfully proven effective against pancreatic cancer in mice. The researchers, lead by Drs. Andre Nel and Huan Meng are publishing the results of their study in November’s issue of ACS Nano.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease. It’s nearly impossible to discover until it is in the advanced stages of development, and even when detected, the number of treatments are limited and success rate is low. In the United States, it is the fourth most common cause of cancer related death and being diagnosed has often been attributed to a death sentence. It has only a 6% five year survival rate. As such, finding new treatments is paramount, and Nel and Meng may have just given us major progress towards a treatment.

The problem with traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy, is that pancreatic tumors become surrounded by structural elements called stroma, which block the chemo from reaching the tumor through the blood vessels. The new technique instead makes use of a dual-wave nanotherapy method in which two kinds of microscopic nanoparticles are injected rapidly into a vein. The first wave of particles carries a substance that removes the stroma while the other wave holds the chemotherapy drugs.

The method was tested on immuno-compromised mice bred for growing human pancreatic cancer cells under the skin. The nanotherapy showed a significantly higher reduction in size of the tumors as compared to traditional chemotherapy.

Pancreas2 Nanotech researchers discover new cancer treatment

That little wiggly thing behind the stomach is your pancreas.

“This two-wave nanotherapy is an existing example of how we seek to improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to their intended targets using nanotechnology to provide an engineered approach,” said Dr. Nel. “It shows how the physical and chemical principles of nanotechnology can be integrated with the biological sciences to help cancer patients by increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy while also reducing side effects and toxicity. This two-wave treatment approach can also address biological impediments in nanotherapies for other types of cancer.”
Source Phys.org