Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and RWTH Aachen University have demonstrated that injecting nanoscale potato-virus particles and doxorubicin into melanoma tumors slows tumor progression in mice. The team’s work was published in Nano Letters.
Although simultaneous injection of the virus particles and a chemo drug prompted a positive response, fusing the two into a combination nanoparticle did not add any benefit, the team reported.
The researchers’ work is the 1st to show that treating mice with potato-virus nanoparticles can trigger an anti-tumor response. But the study also revealed that complex nanoparticles may not be the therapeutic solution that cancer researchers are hoping for.
“It’s attractive to want to create multifunctional nanoparticles that can ‘do it all,'” senior author Nicole Steinmetz said in prepared remarks. “But this study shows significant therapeutic efficacy, including prolonging survival, requires a more step-wise approach. When the plant-based virus particles and the drugs were able to work on their own, we saw the greatest benefit.”
“While the nanomedicine field strives to design multifunctional nanoparticles that integrate several functions and therapeutic regimens into single nanoparticle – our data suggest a paradigm shift; some therapeutics may need to be administered separately to synergize and achieve most potent therapeutic outcome,” the authors wrote.
“Dual-pronged therapeutic approaches may be our best defense against certain cancers. And, virus-based nanoparticles like the ones in our study may be used to enhance efficacy of existing medications,” Steinmetz added.
Next, the team said it plans to assess why the potato virus particles have an anti-tumor effect in mice.