Researchers from Washington State University have developed a way to target drug delivery to a tumor by attaching the therapeutic to white blood cells. The discovery, which the team describes as a 1st of its kind, could help doctors provide more targeted cancer treatment.
The researchers attached a nanoscale particle to a white blood cell to ferry the drug past the blood vessels that traditionally block drugs from getting into a tumor. The team’s work was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
The principal investigator, Zhenjia Wang, implanted a tumor on a mouse model and exposed it to near-infrared light. This caused inflammation, which prompted white blood cells to flood the tumor.
Then, the team injected the mouse with gold nanoparticles conjugated with antibodies, which bind the white blood cells to the nanoparticles. When the researchers exposed the tmor to infrared light, the gold nanoparticles produced heat that killed cancerous tumor cells.
Wang said the team’s work could allow healthcare practitioners to attach an anticancer drug to a nanoparticle and deliver it directly to the tumor, while avoiding any healthy tissues nearby.
“We have developed a new approach to deliver therapeutics into tumors using the white blood cells of our body,” Wang said in prepared remarks. “This will be applied to deliver many anticancer drugs, such as doxorubicin, and we hope that it could increase the efficacy of cancer therapies compared to other delivery systems.”