Saudi researchers show linking drugs to nanotubes helps them battle breast cancer

Saudi Arabian researchers are deploying single-walled carbon nanotubes as drug delivery agents in the fight against breast cancer.

A combination of tubes containing paclitaxel or salinomycin resulted in an almost 19-fold reduction in breast cancer tumor size, compared to conventional administration of the two drugs, at least in mouse models, Nature Middle East reports. A pH-sensitive hydrazone linker was used to facilitate controlled release of the cargo inside of the acidic breast cancer tissue only.

Localized drug delivery enables the therapy to target so-called cancer stem cells, which direct metastasis and relapse, and are resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents.

"This novel drug delivery system will be very beneficial in overcoming the limitations of current chemotherapeutic agents such as low solubility, significant toxicity to healthy tissues, short blood circulation and nonspecific targeting," principal investigator Achraf Al Faraj, of the Department of Radiological Sciences at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, told Nature Middle East. "Also, it provides a diagnostic tool to allow monitoring the specific targeting of conjugated drugs and the tumour therapy using noninvasive imaging modalities. Future works should focus on validating the long-term safety of this innovative nanocarrier for prospective clinical applications."

More details can be found in the Journal of Controlled Release. The abstract says in vitro and in vivo evaluations of tumor-bearing mice confirmed "the enhanced therapeutic effect of the combined therapy compared to treatment with individual drug-conjugated nanocarriers or free drug suspensions."

- here's more in Nature Middle East
- read the journal abstract

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