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Mesoscale Nanoparticle Targeted Drug Delivery

7/14/16     In previous blogs we have written about new targeted drug delivery development and how its possible using micro medical device components. There was a recent article by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) that we found interesting and the topic keeps in line with the blogging we have been doing.
The topic of the article was on renal cell carcinoma a common form of kidney cancer. Scientists at MSKCC have engineered a micro-sized particle that could make it possible to deliver drugs directly to the affected kidneys and minimize their uptake in other organs. The device, called a mesoscale nanoparticle, could help boost the usefulness of some kidney cancer drugs and might also be used in the treatment and diagnosis of other kidney conditions.

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Nanoparticles are polymers between 1-100 nanometers and can be loaded with drugs or imaging agents (an average human cell measures about 50,000 nanometers). They hold promise for many medical applications, partly because they are biocompatible with living tissue and have unusual chemical and physical properties.
The kidney-bound particle is the result of an incidental finding made while studying how the size and chemical properties of some nanomaterials could be modulated to guide their distribution in the body. The goal of the project was to create a nanoparticle capable of targeting cancer drugs to the lung. They produced a number of nanoparticles of different sizes and chemical properties which were then injected into mice and their location tracked using CT scans and other imaging methods.
The results of the initial experiments were mixed. In particular, one of the particles didn’t behave as expected. The researchers could find only low levels of it in the animals’ lungs, and very little in the liver or spleen, where many similar substances tend to gather.  It surprisingly ended up in the proximal tubule of the kidney where mesoscale nanoparticles are absorbed. Interestingly enough, the proximal tubule is where renal cell carcinoma (RCC) originates.
The MSKCC team is now working to develop a nanoparticle-based technology to deliver chemotherapy or targeted therapies directly to the site of RCC. They hope the method will help reduce side effects of the drugs by keeping them away from other organs. They are focusing on trials that have failed and were abandoned in hopes of revamping their research.
The researchers are also exploring the use of this to help repair kidney failure, a common problem in people who receive chemotherapy for various types of cancer because the proximal tubule is often the first site of damage.