In recent years, cancer researchers have been developing agents that destroy the blood vessels surrounding tumors with the goal of starving tumors to death. Some of these agents, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) have shown promising results, but often their toxicity has proven too great to be clinically useful. Using gold nanoparticles as a delivery vehicle for TNF-α has reduced this toxicity and the resulting construct has already completed a phase I clinical trial in humans.
Now, a team at the University of Minnesota headed by John Bischof, has shown that they can use this gold nanoparticle-TNF-? system to enhance the effects of either thermal therapy or cryosurgery. Moreover, the researchers demonstrated that they can use standard magnetic resonance imaging technology to visualize tumor destruction. Dr. Bischof and his colleagues reported their findings in the journalMolecular Pharmaceutics.
Experiments in a mouse model of human prostate cancer showed that the gold nanoparticle-TNF-? system disrupted blood flow into tumors within 90 minutes of injection, an effect that lasted up to six hours. Using a technique known as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, Dr. Bischof’s team was able to clearly image the changes in blood flow into and around the tumor following nanoparticle treatment. The researchers note that in human patients, a simple five-minute MRI scan would be sufficient to detect a meaningful change in tumor blood vessel function.
Read more at: Phys.org