A nanoparticle is able to enter cancer cells by selectively eliminating them, without any effect on healthy cells

Researchers from the Networked Biomedical Research Centre for Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), the Sant Pau Research Institute (IIB Sant Pau) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) have published an article in Haematologica , one of the international scientific journals with the greatest impact in the field of Hemato-Oncology. This article demonstrates the high selectivity of a protein-based nanomedicine, created by the researchers themselves, for the targeted delivery of a toxin in target tumour cells to induce their selective death, producing a potent anti-tumour effect in an LDCGB animal model. This nanoparticle can be developed as a nanofarmaceutical in order to introduce a new treatment that could be used in 40% of LDCGB patients who do not respond to current therapy, avoiding the adverse effects associated with conventional treatment.

Link to the publication

The team of researchers, led by members of CIBER-BBN, Dr. Isolda Casanova, Prof. Ramon Mangues and Doctoranda Aida Falgàs, from IIB Sant Pau, and Prof. Antonio Villaverde and Dr. Esther Vázquez from UAB, have demonstrated that this nanofarm acts only on positive CXCR4 lymphoma cells capable of disseminating and nesting in bone marrow and lymphatic nodes.


Disruptive technology

This selective effect of the nanofarmaceutical is due to the specific interaction between a routing peptide containing the protein nanoparticle carrying the toxin and the highly overexpressed CXCR4 cell receptor in lymphoma cells. This is the first time that the uptake of a protein nanoparticle in different organs of a haematological neoplasm has been quantified, observing surprisingly that 86% of the dose administered accumulates in cancer cells, a substantial improvement compared to other non-protein nanoparticles or other drug targeting systems such as drug-antibody conjugates, which only reach 1% of the dose in the tumour. Therefore, this is a disruptive technology that allows only lymphoma cells to be eliminated, blocking their dissemination to healthy organs with possible involvement in this type of neoplasm, while avoiding the adverse effects associated with conventional treatments.

It has been observed that the CXCR4 receptor is overexpressed in more than 20 different types of cancer, including hematological neoplasms such as acute myeloid leukemia or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and solid tumors such as carcinomas of the breast, prostate, endometrium , ovary or head and neck among others, associated with poor prognosis. On this basis, this nanotoxin may be indicated in the treatment of different types of cancer, which places it as a very versatile nanomedicine that may be indicated in the treatment of numerous tumor types with high prevalence.

There are currently no drugs on the market that selectively eliminate the cells responsible for metastatic dissemination, so the development of this nanomedicine could have a high clinical impact after the necessary trials have been carried out to apply them in humans. The company Nanoligent SL, which has licensed the intellectual property of this new type of nanomedicine, aims to obtain public and private funding for its preclinical development and its study in clinical trials in DLBCL lymphomas, among other types of cancer.


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