A research team at Nanyang Technological University(NTU), Singapore has found a new approach that turns a nanoparticle into a ‘Trojan horse’ that causes cancer cells to self-destruct. Experiments results showed cancer cells are killed and tumour growth reduced in mice.
Previous studies have shown that cancer tumour growth can be slowed or prevented by ‘starving’ cancer cells. Thus, scientists believe fasting or special diets can treat cancer. However, no all patients suitable for such strict dietary regime.
Seeking to exploit the amino acid dependency of cancer cells but avoid the challenges of strict dietary regimes, the NTU researchers looking for alternative approach.
They took a silica nanoparticle designated as ‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ by the US Food and Drug Administration and coated it with L-phenylalanine, and found that in lab tests with mice it killed cancer cells effectively and very specifically, by causing them to self-destruct.
The anti-cancer therapeutic nanoparticle is ultrasmall, with a diameter of 30 nanometres, or approximately 30,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair, and is named “Nanoscopic phenylalanine Porous Amino Acid Mimic”, or Nano-pPAAM.
Their findings, published recently in the scientific journal Small, may hold promise for future design of nanotherapies, said the research team.
According to Sin Chew, the research is currently in a laboratory stage, to go through clinical trial and approval from relevant government agencies, it may take another 8 to 10 years.
Info via Sin Chew