How Nanoparticles Can Improve Chemotherapy Treatment

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David Shechter
Nov 16, 2015
min read
How Nanoparticles Can Improve Chemotherapy TreatmentHow Nanoparticles Can Improve Chemotherapy TreatmentHow Nanoparticles Can Improve Chemotherapy Treatment

“I felt like the treatment would kill me before the cancer did.” This quote, all-too-common among cancer patients, gives a snapshot into the toxic effects of chemotherapy. With no way to differentiate between healthy and malignant cells, chemo essentially destroys all cells in its path. The immediate cost is severe sickness; long-term costs range from hearing loss to increased infection rate and even serious heart conditions. Isn’t there anything more effective available?

In answer to this question, there is indeed something that potentially confers increased efficacy and safety. It is called a nanoparticle, and exists as a component of cancer treatments that have not yet moved past the clinical trials stage of drug development. Nanoparticles are formally characterized as having a diameter between 1 and 100 nm. Their uses in research and medicine are many, including MRI studies, pharmacokinetics, protein detection, genetics & tissue engineering, and importantly, as drug delivery systems. Cancer researchers are working to manipulate the biochemistry of nanoparticles to cause it to target tumor cells. On arrival to the target tumor, a nanoparticle can release the drug contained in its hollow core (for example, camptothecin) directly into the tumor without injuring surrounding healthy cells.

The advantages to using nanoparticles over currently existing cancer therapies are many. Importantly, its small size permits access to tumors but not healthy tissues. The blood vessels of healthy tissues are incredibly narrow, only permitting passage of particles between 2 and 6 nm. However, the blood vessels found within tumors are typically permeable and broken; therefore, larger particles of up to a few hundred nm can pass through. This allows nanoparticles to specifically target the tumor cell without being given access to healthy cells. Additionally, nanoparticles can be coated with disguising substances such as PEG, so as to confer only infrequent immune system detection. Other advantages include the ability to control timing and amount of drug release, increased efficacy and reduced side effects through selection of an appropriate matrix, and multiple routes of administration (e.g. injection, nasal, oral). (1)

Production of nanoparticles involves high-pressure emulsification, typically through homogenization. Homogenization is the preferable method due to its ability to reduce particle sizes more significantly than other blending/emulsification methods. (2) The first step in synthesizing a nanoparticle-based cancer therapy is purchasing equipment that will achieve small and consistent particle size distribution. One such example is the high pressure homogenizer by Pion. Our products are trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and lab managers around the world for key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions; importantly, this equipment can achieve consistent particle sizes at or below 100 nm, a key benefit for researchers & corporations that synthesize pharmaceutical products.

In addition, Pion has extensive experience assisting its product users as they transition through the drug development process. Our homogenizers are differentiated for R&D, clinical trials, and manufacturing, and our customer support is reliable, experience-driven, and effective.

Learn more by visiting Pion here.

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