Lung Cancer Inhaler? OSU Research Says Yes

Researchers at OSU are bringing science fiction style nanomedicine into the real world. The research will give manufacturers the information they need to make an anti-lung cancer inhaler.

lung cancerThe work, submitted for publication this month, detailed the use Nanostructured(meaning particles only a few billionths of an inch across) Lipid Carriers (NLC) and their efficacy as a means for delivering cancer drugs via inhalation versus traditional intravenous(IV) delivery.

The cancer fighting nanoparticles were coated with four substances. Two siRNAs(Small interfering RNA), one for inhibiting the process used by cancer cells to “pump” cancer drugs out of the cell and another that prevents the cancer from inhibiting the cells natural ability to die, a peptide that selectively bind to the cancer cells,and the actual cancer drugs themselves. Trillions of the particles were then suspended in an aerosol and pumped into the mouths of anesthetized mice who had lung tumors.

In the mice treated via traditional IV methods, but still using the nanoparticles and their special coatings, only 23% of the therapeutic compounds actually made it into the tumor cells in the lungs. Much of it ended up in the liver(59%) and kidneys(9%) and some even ended up in the mice’s hearts(1%).  Which may have been why that delivery method merely slowed tumor growth down, relative to the controls.

In the mice treated with the aerosol, an amazing 83% of the medication arrived where it was supposed to, in the tumors in the lungs. The effects were truly astounding tumors were shrunk from 40 cubic millimeters to less than 5. In 50% of the trials with the NLCS the tumors were reduced to such an extent that the researchers could not find them.

While this amazing, more research will need to be done to ensure that there are no long term negative side effects to using this kind of delivery system although given that most of the medication made it to where it was supposed to be side effects should be minimal.

By William Tatum