Increasing esophageal cancer therapeutic efficacy using infrared nanoparticles

Increasing esophageal cancer therapeutic efficacy using infrared nanoparticles

Researchers have developed a new nanoparticle-based platform for simultaneous imaging and treatment of esophageal cancer. They manufactured polypeptide nanoparticles, which have near infrared fluorescence (f-PNPs) for better tissue imaging. They also modified the nanoparticles with tumor targeting properties and then loaded the nanoparticles with a chemotherapy drug.

"This is precision medicine," said one of the corresponding authors of a paper on this nanoparticle, which is scheduled is published in the journal Nature Communications. "It is harder to detect the esophageal cancer tumor. One common detection method is the use of an endoscopic probe, which shines a white light through your throat. But the problem is the tumor is embedded in the normal tissue and difficult to see. This will help detect the tumor and guide the surgeon to the area that is lit up and surgically remove it, or consider alternative therapies."

Esophageal cancer, the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, is responsible for nearly 16,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. It has few symptoms and is often diagnosed at a later stage. The five-year survival rate is less than 20 percent.

Technically, to achieve tumor targeting, f-PNPs are first conjugated with RGD moieties to selectively target EC cells via αvβ3integrin; the nanoparticles are then embedded with epirubicin (EPI). Cell viability assays and analysis of tissue histology reveal that EPI-loaded RGD-f-PNPs (RGD-f-PNPs/EPI) led to significantly reduced cardiotoxicity and improved anti-tumor activity compared to EPI alone. Moreover, the drug delivery to tumor sites and therapeutic responses could be monitored with near-infrared fluorescence using RGD-f-PNPs/EPI. 

The co-senior said that in the past there have been some concerns about attempting to use nanoparticles detecting cancer cells because of the potential to introduce unanticipated side effects. It is important to note that this nanoparticle is both biocompatible and biodegradable.