MesotheliomaHelp has previously reported on a drug delivery method where the drug sneaks up on the cancer cells via a Trojan horse concept. Now, researchers have developed another Trojan horse delivery method where a drug is hidden inside a DNA capsule.
According to researchers from The Ohio State University, using “DNA origami,” where an anti-cancer drug is enclosed in a capsule of folded up DNA, the targeted cancer cells absorbed the medicine inside the capsule and died. The laboratory test was performed against leukemia cells that had built up a resistance against the drug, however, by hiding the drug in the DNA it was once again effective.
“DNA origami nanostructures have a lot of potential for drug delivery, not just for making effective drug delivery vehicles, but enabling new ways to study drug delivery,” said Carlos Castro, director of the Laboratory for Nanoengineering and Biodesign, in a Feb. 23 press release from the University.
In the study, the researchers discovered that when leukemia cancer cells are treated with daunorubicin, a chemotherapy used to treat leukemia, after the cancer has developed a resistance to the anti-cancer drug, the medicine is fought off by being pumped out through the cell walls.
However, the researchers found that when daunorubicin was cloaked within the DNA capsule, the cancer cells actually drew the capsules in mistaking it for food. Once the capsule was inside the cell it broke down flooding the cancer with the drug, effectively killing the leukemia cells.
The technique should potentially work on most any form of drug-resistant cancer if further work shows it can be effectively translated to animal models, according to study co-author John Byrd of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. This is very good news to the mesothelioma community.
Mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer that attacks the lining of the organs, is like many cancers with few effective treatments and no cure. According to many researchers, the likelihood that mesothelioma will build up a resistance to the very drugs designed to combat the cancer is extremely high. The Ohio State researchers believe that their findings can lead to a new drug delivery method that can restore the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drugs.
“Potentially, we can also tailor these structures to make them deliver drugs selectively to cancer cells and not to other parts of the body where they can cause side effects,” said Byrd.
The study was confined to laboratory cells. Results of the research must next be proven in mouse models before testing on human cancers, which could be years down the road.
To find out more about the DNA Trojan horse see the Nov. 19, 2015 issue of Small.