Researchers at Oregon State University have combined three cancer drugs in a nanoparticle system to treat deadly metastatic skin cancers by targeting the lymph nodes.
In animal tests, the nanoparticle treatment significantly reduced the number of melanoma cells, which are prone to resistance when it comes to normal chemotherapy regimens. The nanoparticles, according to the university, allow the lymph nodes protection from system toxicity while at the same time discouraging drug resistance by carrying three of the drugs at a time.
The nanoparticles delivered the drugs docetaxel, everolimus and LY294002 in a polymer shell administered subcutaneously and designed to migrate to the lymphatic system.
Melanoma often metastasizes through the lymphatic system, the researchers write--up to 80%--and the new nanoparticles could be used to treat other cancers in the region, such as breast, head and neck, prostate, pancreatic lung and gastric cancers.
"Melanoma has a high mortality rate because the lymph nodes tend to act as a haven for cancer cells, and allow them to resist treatment through chemotherapy," lead author Adam Alani said in a statement. The team published its results in the Journal of Controlled Release.