- Nanoparticles can carry drugs and enter tumours; the blood brain barrier makes it difficult to treat certain cancers, such as glioblastoma.
- Human tissue model created to show how nanoparticles work.
To illustrate how nanoparticles work, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a model of human tissue. Because of the blood brain barrier, cancer forms like glioblastoma have a high mortality rate and are challenging to treat. The barrier makes it difficult for most chemotherapy medications to enter the blood arteries surrounding the brain, which makes it more difficult to treat cancer.
The research team has now created nanoparticles that can transport the medicine inside tumours and kill glioblastoma cells there.Researchers have developed a technique and built a model that mimics the blood brain barrier in order to examine the effectiveness of the nanoparticles. In an article that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the brain tissue model was described.
Joelle Straehla, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the study’s lead author, said, “We anticipate that examining these nanoparticles in a more accurate model will allow us to save a significant amount of time and effort from trying ineffective treatments in clinics. In order to replicate the complex structure of the brain, glioblastoma cells from patients were developed in a microfluidic device.
Then, blood arteries were developed in microscopic tubes encircling the sphere of tumour cells using human endothelial cells. Pericytes and astrocytes, two cell types linked to the movement of chemicals across the blood brain barrier, were also included.A layer-by-layer assembly method was applied in the lab to produce the nanoparticles.
A peptide known as AP2 is coated on the particles utilised in the study, and research has shown that it is useful in assisting nanoparticles in crossing the blood brain barrier.In tissue models of both normal brain tissue and glioblastoma tissue, scientists have evaluated the nanoparticles.
It was found that AP2 peptidecoated particles effectively passed through the arteries around the tumours.The particles were then coated with the targeted peptide, loaded with cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic medication. In the study, glioblastoma tumour cells could only be killed by the coated particles, while uncoated particles harmed healthy blood arteries.
When compared to bare nanoparticles or free medication, we observed enhanced cell death in tumours treated with peptidecoated nanoparticles. According to Cynthia Hajal, another research lead author, “those coated particles demonstrated better selectivity in destroying the tumour as opposed to killing everything in a general way.”
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