Researchers develop nanoparticles that prevent cancer metastasis in mice

When a person dies from cancer, the culprit is usually not the original tumor but rather the cancerous cells that spread throughout the body and replicate in distant organs, a process called metastasis. Researchers have long known that metastasizing cancer cells slip their bonds and avoid immune detection by altering the sugars on their surfaces. They’ve even come up with a would-be drug to prevent such sugar alterations. But that compound interferes with needed sugars on normal cells, too, with lethal results in animals. Now, Dutch researchers report that they’ve packaged the drug in nanoparticles targeted exclusively to cancer cells, and they’ve shown that this combination prevents cancer cells from metastasizing in mice.

In a paper posted online this month in ACS Nano, Dutch researcher Gosse Adema and his colleagues report packaging the antimetastatic compound P-3Fax-Neu5Ac into nanosized, biodegradable vesicles made from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA, a compound already approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They then coated the vesicles with antibodies that home in on a protein overexpressed on the surface of melanoma cells. Melanoma cells commonly metastasize to the lungs. So in their study, Adema and his colleagues checked whether melanoma cells spread to the lung in mice.

Read full, original story: Nanoparticle drug stops cancer’s spread in mice

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