Nanoparticles Show Promise in Combination Chemotherapy Treatment

A number of studies have shown that combination chemotherapy (using two or more cancer drugs simultaneously) can help improve treatment of some cancer types. Regulation of combination dosages has been difficult, however, due to the lack of accuracy associated with drug dissemination.

Specifically, past studies have shown that combination therapies have difficulty targeting cancer cells to deliver effective results. Now, researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) report advances in nanoparticles technology that may improve precision of dosage delivery.

In the past, nanoparticles have been used to alter cancer drugs in a way that helps them seek out and bond specifically to cancerous tumor cells. Through such engineering, the BWH team has found a way to dramatically improve the delivery of cisplatin and docetaxel in concert. Due to the physiological differences of these two drugs, combination treatments had previously proven difficult to regulate.

However, in tests performed on prostate cancer cells, the BWH team reports the delivery of precise doses for both medications. The results show promise in improving the effectiveness of combination chemotherapy on a broad scale. Since precision also allows for effective results at lower dosages, side effects felt from chemotherapy may also be reduced.

Previous nanoparticles technologies only allowed for combination treatment that involved medications that were chemically similar. This new way, however, opens the door for a wide variety of new targeted combination options.

The BWH team specifically chose cisplatin and docetaxel because they are commonly used to treat a variety of cancers. As a result, there is potential for the combination treatment to show benefits beyond the scope of prostate cancer.