Cholesterol boosts cancer nanotherapy

Scientists in India have discovered a new way to boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments: using the body's own cholesterol to aid nanoparticle delivery.

In findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers explain that they were able to deliver cancer-killing cisplatin to tumor cells using platinum molecules and naturally occurring cholesterol, and they got some positive results in tests on mice with ovarian and breast cancers.

While platinum-formulated cisplatin has already been demonstrated to be effective, cancer cells often develop a resistance to the drug. That's where the cholesterol comes in. The scientists reported that their pairing significantly boosted the effectiveness of the cisplatin treatment and cut back on drug resistance.

Cisplatin, like all chemotherapeutics, is effective against cancer, but highly toxic to healthy cells, and the scientists' formulation resulted in negligible kidney toxicity, allowing the researchers to deliver almost double the drug amount of traditional treatment, they told India Today.

After observing significant tumor reduction in mice and lab-based human cells, the scientists say they're ready for human trials of the method. 

- read the abstract
- check out the India Today article