Nanodevice With Dual Therapy May Help Fight Cancer Drug Resistance

Image courtesy of Nuria Oliva, Natalie Artzi, and João Conde
Image courtesy of Nuria Oliva, Natalie Artzi, and João Conde

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new nanodevice to block the gene that confers drug resistance and deliver a sustained release of drugs. This research is described in a new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gold nanoparticles coated with DNA complementary to the sequence of multidrug resistant protein 1 (MRP1) messenger RNA were embedded into a hydrogel that can be injected or implanted at a tumor site. The DNA strands form a closed hairpin structure that unfolds and binds to the mRNA inside the cancer cell, preventing it from generating more molecules of the MRP1 protein. Molecules of the drug 5-fluorouracil are also released to attack the tumor cell's DNA. The device was tested in mice implanted with a triple negative breast cancer tumor; the device blocked the gene for MRP1 and delivered 5-fluorouracil continuously over two weeks. The tumors shrunk by 90% over this time frame.

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The researchers state that that the nanodevice could be adapted to delivery any kind of drug or gene therapy targeted to a specific gene involved in cancer. A study is underway to block a gene that stimulates gastric tumors to metastasize to the lungs.

For more information visit MIT.edu.