'Nanodaisies' carry two cancer drugs and protect them in the bloodstream

The "nanodaisy" delivery vehicle carrying camptothecin and doxorubicin--Courtesy of NC State

With all the innovation in nano-sized delivery vehicles, the creative terms for the small particles have run the gamut from nanonecklaces to nanovolcanoes. And scientists from North Carolina State University, following suit, have dubbed their new design for delivering cancer drugs a "nanodaisy," due to a flower-like petal structure on its surface.

The biomedical engineers created a delivery vehicle that contains a cocktail of potent cancer drugs and can deliver them to cancer cells. They used the polymer polyethylene glycol that, in the form of a long strand, loops in and out of a detailed structure to make the "petals" of the flower. The shape itself is incidental to the function of the polymer, which is designed to prolong the life of the drugs in the bloodstream, according to the university.

The entire vehicle is designed to keep the hydrophobic anticancer agents camptothecin and doxorubicin in check until it reaches the cancer cells and releases them in the cells. In in vivo studies, "The nanocarriers exhibited strong accumulation in tumor sites and showed a prominent anticancer activity against the lung cancer xenograft mice model compared with free drugs," according to the abstract in the journal Biomaterials.

"We found that this technique was much better than conventional drug-delivery techniques at inhibiting the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice," lead author Zhen Gu said in a statement. "And based on in vitro tests in 9 different cell lines, the technique is also promising for use against leukemia, breast, prostate, liver, ovarian and brain cancers."

- here's the NC State report
- and here's the Biomaterials abstract

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