(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Montreal have developed a DNA-based nanotransport that “captures” a drug and maintains an optimal concentration in the blood.
This nanotransporter was tested on mice with blood cancer. It delivered the widely used chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin.
Due to the exact dosage, scientists were able to significantly extend the duration of the drug and reduce side effects.
A team of researchers from the University of Montreal has developed and model tested a new class of drug nanotransporters.
The new vehicle is 20,000 times thinner than a human hair and could improve treatments for cancer and other diseases. First of all, the researchers intend to conduct clinical trials for chemotherapy for blood cancer.
One of the keys to the successful treatment of almost any disease is to ensure and maintain an accurate therapeutic dose of the drug. Insufficient therapeutic exposure reduces efficacy and usually leads to drug resistance, while excessive exposure increases side effects.
Maintaining the optimal concentration of drugs in the blood remains a serious problem of modern medicine.
Because most drugs break down quickly in the blood, patients are forced to take drugs over and over again at regular intervals.
But patients often forget to do this. And since each patient has a different pharmacokinetic profile, the concentration of drugs in their blood varies significantly.
As much as you need and always on time
Scientists have noticed that only about 50% of cancer patients receive the optimal dose of medication during chemotherapy, and decided to correct this unsatisfactory state of affairs.
Lead author Alexis Valle-Belil began by examining how biological systems themselves control and maintain the concentration of biomolecules: “We found that living organisms use protein transport programmed to maintain precise concentrations of key molecules such as thyroid hormones.
The strength of the interaction between these transporters and their molecules determines the exact concentration of the free molecule.” When the concentration falls, the protein “releases” the molecule and its concentration in the blood rises.
This idea became the basis for the development of artificial drug transporters that mimic the natural effect of maintaining precise concentrations in a living organism.
Scientists have developed two protein transporters from DNA: one for quinine (an antimalarial drug) and another for doxorubicin, a widely used drug to treat breast cancer and leukemia.
Scientists have shown that artificial nanotransporters can be easily programmed to deliver and maintain any specific drug concentration.
“These nanotransporters can be used as a drug reservoir to prolong the effect of the drug and minimize its dosage during treatment,” the scientists explain. These nanotransporters can be targeted to specific parts of the body where the drug is most needed, and this should reduce most of the side effects.
Tests and clinical studies
Using their nanotransport developed for doxorubicin, the team demonstrated that it maintains optimal levels of doxorubicin in the blood and drastically reduces its diffusion to critical organs such as the heart, lungs and pancreas.
In mice treated with nanotransporter-bound doxorubicin molecules, the drug persisted in the blood 18 times longer than in the free form, and its cardiotoxicity was significantly reduced. This kept the mice healthy, as evidenced by normal weight gain.
The researchers are now striving to confirm the clinical efficacy of their discovery. Because their doxorubicin nanotransporter is programmed to optimally maintain the drug in the blood, it could be a reliable and safe treatment for blood cancer.
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