Researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine developed a method to deliver a combination of drugs using nanoparticles in the hopes of preventing melanoma cancer cells from developing treatment-resistance. Their work was published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Cancer Letters.
The team’s CelePlum-777 localized around cancer tumors and delivered a specific ratio of an anti-inflammatory, Celecoxib, and a toxin, Plumbagin, the researchers reported.
“Loading multiple drugs into nanoparticles is one innovative approach to deliver multiple cancer drugs to a particular site where they need to act, and have them released at that optimal cancer cell-killing ratio,” lead author Raghavendra Gowda said in prepared remarks. “Another advantage is that by combining the drugs, lower concentrations of each that are more effective and less toxic can be used.”
Neither drug can be taken orally and both compounds are toxic to the human body. However, the researchers said its CelePlum-777 can be injected intravenously without the fear of toxicity.
“This drug is the 1st of a new class, loaded with multiple agents to more effectively kill melanoma cells, that has potential to reduce the possibility of resistance development,” senior author Gavin Robertson said. “There is no drug like it in the clinic today and it is likely that the next breakthrough in melanoma treatment will come from a drug like this one.”
The team evaluated its nanoparticle drug-combo in cancer cells grown in dishes and in mice with tumors. CelePlum-777 prevented tumor development in mice with no detectable side effects, according to the researchers, and it stopped proteins from triggering uncontrolled cancer cell proliferation.
Penn State patented the discovery and licensed it to Cipher Pharmaceuticals, which plans to perform the next series of tests required by the FDA.