Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS have found a new method for improving the efficiency of chemotherapy. By this method, the susceptibility of cancerous cells to antitumor medicines containing doxorubicin has been tremendously increased. The nanoparticles which carry the drugs are enriched with the folic acid, absorbed by the cancerous cells about 1000 times more effectively than by the normal cells.
The study results are published in an open-access journal “Nanomaterials”. Click here to read the complete research findings.
Antitumor drugs containing doxorubicin are one of the most commonly used in the entire world. It is being used for the treatment of leukemia, sarcomas, muscle cancer, and several other malignancies. Doxorubicin itself doesn’t have any directed action. In pure form, doxorubicin doesn’t show any effect.
When it gets in the bloodstream, it actively gets bind to different compounds and then shows its actions. It is absorbed equally by both cancerous and normal cells. This means that large doses are essential to gain the effect. Moreover, if the direct cancer-targeted activity is absent then it is dangerous for the healthy cells.
In 2017, a series of experiments on the binding action of doxorubicin with the nanoparticles of biocompatible boron nitride were conducted by the team of scientists from the NUST MISIS with the collaboration of the colleagues from the N.N. Blokhin National Medical Research Center of Oncology. These nanoparticles perfectly bind with the drugs due to their similar molecular structure.
In vitro experiments showed positive results; the nanoparticles effectively pass doxorubicin to the cells and once it enters the cell then it will release the drug; only after entering the cell. So the breakdown of the doxorubicin in the bloodstream can be blocked until it enters the cells.
Thus, the dosage of the drug would also decrease. But still, not all problems were solved by this. It was essential to making cancer cells able to absorb the therapeutic drug so actively so that healthy cells would not found time to absorb the drug.
After the continuous research, the scientists finally found a method to pack doxorubicin for making its action direct. This made doxorubicin action directed only to the cancerous cells. The resulting method works based on the structural characteristics of the cancer cells as they divide very rapidly for that they need more nutrition so they have a large number of folic acid receptors on their surface.
Folic acid, the water-soluble vitamin is also known as Vitamin B9, is fundamental for the development and growth of the immune and circulatory systems.
There are a thousand times more folic acid receptors on the surface of cancerous cells as compared to that on the healthy cells. One of the researchers at NUST MISIS laboratory, Elizaveta Permykova said that in their new study they have covalently attached the folic acid with the nanoparticles and then drugged it with doxorubicin.
Spectrophotometry is used for evaluation of the quality of the loading nanoparticles with the therapeutic drug. Researchers at NUST MISIS are conducting more In vitro experiments for further confirmation of the therapeutic activity. Experiments are being done by using cultures of the human cancerous cells.