PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles

TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles
2023-11-17
(Press-News.org)

To reduce the side effects associated with chemotherapy treatments, researchers have investigated the use of delivery systems that can take more drugs directly to the tumor. Ninh (Irene) La-Beck, Pharm.D., from the Department of Immunotherapeutics and Biotechnology at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy is one of those researchers.

La-Beck recently received a five-year, $2.49 million grant (“Cholesterol Metabolism in the Pharmacology of Liposomal Therapeutics”) from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. She said the grant will allow her to investigate how nanoparticles interact with the immune system and cancer so that new drug delivery systems can be developed.

Transporting drugs to a tumor via nanoparticles, which are about the size of a virus particle, is one of the most promising delivery methods for overcoming chemotherapy issues. One such nanoparticle delivery system uses liposomes to transport the drugs to the target tumor. Liposomes are artificial orb-like sacs typically created from cholesterol and natural non-toxic phospholipids (lipids whose molecules include a group of phosphates).

“The thing that's really attractive with using a nanoparticle in cancer treatments is that the nanoparticle is much larger than chemotherapy molecules,” La-Beck said. “Because it's larger, it is less likely to leak out and go to other healthy tissues, so it potentially causes fewer side effects.”

Drug delivery via nanoparticles such as liposomes increases drug accumulation in the tumor while sparing normal tissue. La-Beck said several liposomal chemotherapies are approved to treat cancer, but unfortunately, lipid nanoparticles such as liposomes also interact with the immune system, though their impact on the tumor’s immunologic environment is largely unknown.

Unlike normal blood vessels in the body, tumor blood vessels leak and grow rapidly with the tumor. La-Beck said the leakiness allows the nanoparticles to enter the tumor while bypassing normal tissue. 

“Every time the heart pumps, more of the drug leaks out from the blood vessels and into the tumor tissue where it accumulates over time,” La-Beck said. “This means the concentration of the chemotherapy increases, and we think that helps the drug to work better.”

Several nanoparticles are now approved for delivering cancer treatments, and nearly all of them have been shown to produce better safety profiles. For example, doxorubicin, one of the drugs commonly used to treat breast cancer, causes significant heart toxicity, so there's a limit to the maximum dose a patient can receive.

“Some patients have pre-existing heart conditions, and they can't even get doxorubicin,” La-Beck said. “But we’ve found that when we put it into a nanoparticle, there's very little heart toxicity, so it's very successful in that respect. The problem is that we don't actually see the improvement in efficacy that we anticipated; we see better safety, but we don't see better efficacy. Why is that if we're supposedly getting more of the chemo into the tumor?”

In previous research, La-Beck demonstrated that liposomes composed of phospholipids and cholesterol, similar to those used in patients, doubled tumor size in mice by suppressing their immune response against some tumors. She recently identified macrophages (cells that detect, ingest and destroy harmful organisms) as the cells that are responsible for these detrimental effects. 

In addition, preliminary data generated by La-Beck show that liposomal cholesterol is metabolized into oxysterols (cholesterol derivatives produced by oxidation) that are known to alter macrophage functions.

“Based on this, we theorize that liposomal oxysterols cause macrophages to suppress antitumor immunity and enhance tumor growth,” La-Beck added.

La-Beck’s lab has been trying to understand and address that problem by investigating what the body does to the nanoparticle, and what the nanoparticle does to the body. Several years ago they discovered that nanoparticles significantly interact with the immune system.

The nanoparticles, liposomes in this case, are recognized by the immune system, which responds to liposomes as they do to any perceived foreign pathogen. Macrophages normally consume and clear all these pathogens and then present the pathogen parts to the T-cells, another part of the immune system that provides an antigen-specific response to recognize that specific pathogen.

La-Beck said these macrophages are crucial in the initial clearing of the nanoparticles and in activating other immune responses to the nanoparticles. Her preliminary research showed that some of these responses are actually good; they cause the immune cells to make molecules that help to activate an immune response against cancer cells.

“We also discovered that some of these immune responses are bad because they stimulate molecules to be released that actually can suppress certain parts of the immune system and promote tumor cell growth,” La-Beck explained. “So, the immune system is a double-edged sword: if it's out of control, you get bad things, but if it’s right, you get the good effects.”

For this grant, La-Beck’s research will focus on the cholesterol part of the liposome delivery system. She said when the body metabolizes too much cholesterol in the wrong way, it causes other diseases like atherosclerosis and could be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and other types of cancers.

“The bottom line is these nanoparticle delivery systems have a huge potential to help make treatments better, but there's a lot we don't understand about how they affect the immune system,” La-Beck asserted. “If we don't figure that out, then we can't fully exploit their therapeutic potential. That's basically what the grant is about.”

###

END


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles 2 TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles 3

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

NASA researcher honored by Goddard Tech Office for earth science work

NASA researcher honored by Goddard Tech Office for earth science work
2023-11-17
Earth science researcher Dr. Antonia Gambacorta earned the 2023 Goddard IRAD Technology Leadership award for pioneering new ways to measure lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere from space. The award from the chief technologist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recognizes Gambacorta’s work demonstrating how hyperspectral microwave sounding, the measurement of hundreds of thousands of wavelengths of microwave light, could dissect Earth’s atmospheric planetary boundary layer (PBL). She also ...

Mass Eye and Ear researchers develop potential glaucoma treatment strategy to guide stem cells to the retina

Mass Eye and Ear researchers develop potential glaucoma treatment strategy to guide stem cells to the retina
2023-11-17
BOSTON – Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and vision loss, due to the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), cannot currently be reversed with any treatment. Some studies have looked at replacing RGCs through cell transplants, but this process is still in the research and development stage and fraught with limitations that highlight a need for a more precise manner of effectively repopulating these cells in the retina. Now, a multidisciplinary team led by researchers at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear has ...

RIT researcher receives NIH funding to help design better drugs

2023-11-17
Rochester Institute of Technology’s Emiliano Brini, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science, has received an award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support his research on building the next generation of drugs. Brini and his team of students will develop computational tools that can predict the strength of the interaction between two proteins and how drugs will modify this interaction. Physics-based methodologies will quickly and accurately provide such predictions. Designing a new ...

UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering Faculty boost vaccines and immunotherapies with machine learning to drive more effective treatments

UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering Faculty boost vaccines and immunotherapies with machine learning to drive more effective treatments
2023-11-17
Small molecules called immunomodulators can help create more effective vaccines and stronger immunotherapies to treat cancer. But finding the molecules that instigate the right immune response is difficult —the number of drug-like small molecules has been estimated to be 1060, much higher than the number of stars in the visible universe. In a potential first for the field of vaccine design, machine learning guided the discovery of new immune pathway-enhancing molecules and found one particular small molecule that could outperform the best immunomodulators on the market. The ...

Seven ORNL scientists among world’s top 1% most-cited researchers

Seven ORNL scientists among world’s top 1% most-cited researchers
2023-11-17
Seven scientists from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been named among the world’s most influential researchers on the 2023 Highly Cited Researchers list, produced by Clarivate, a data analytics firm that specializes in scientific and academic research. "These scientists have delivered significant impact for the scientific community and nation," said ORNL Director Stephen Streiffer. "This honor highlights their commitment, hard work and leadership in their respective fields.” The ORNL researchers named to the list are: Miaofang Chi, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences David A. Cullen, Center for Nanophase Materials ...

Lung cancer cells’ ‘memories’ suggest new strategy for improving treatment

Lung cancer cells’ ‘memories’ suggest new strategy for improving treatment
2023-11-17
A new understanding of lung cancer cells’ “memories” suggests a new strategy for improving treatment, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) researchers have found. Research from the lab of cancer biologist Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD shows that some lung cancer cells retain a “memory” of the healthy cell where they came from — one that might be exploited to make an emerging type of lung cancer treatment called KRAS inhibition more effective. The study looked specifically at lung adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small ...

Idai vs. Impalas: New study shows in real-time what helps mammals survive a natural disaster

Idai vs. Impalas: New study shows in real-time what helps mammals survive a natural disaster
2023-11-17
When Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park in May 2019, one of nature‘s deadliest forces encountered one of the most technologically sophisticated wildlife parks on the planet. Princeton researchers and colleagues from around the world documented the effects using trail cameras and animal-tracking devices that had been in use before the storm.  Thanks to the extensive network of cameras, GPS collars and other instruments, park staff and ...

Nanoplastics promote conditions for Parkinson’s across various lab models

Nanoplastics promote conditions for Parkinson’s across various lab models
2023-11-17
DURHAM, N.C. – Nanoplastics interact with a particular protein that is naturally found in the brain, creating changes linked to Parkinson’s disease and some types of dementia. In a Duke-led study appearing Nov. 17 in Science Advances, the researchers report that the findings create a foundation for a new area of investigation, fueled by the timely impact of environmental factors on human biology. “Parkinson’s disease has been called the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world,” said principal investigator, Andrew West, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at ...

New research suggests plants might be able to absorb more CO2 from human activities than previously expected

2023-11-17
New research published today in leading international journal Science Advances paints an uncharacteristically upbeat picture for the planet. This is because more realistic ecological modelling suggests the world’s plants may be able to take up more atmospheric CO2 from human activities than previously predicted. Despite this headline finding, the environmental scientists behind the research are quick to underline that this should in no way be taken to mean the world’s governments can take their foot off the brake in their obligations to reduce carbon ...

In the fight against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, just add soap

In the fight against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, just add soap
2023-11-17
EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 17, 2023) – Could the solution to the decades-long battle against malaria be as simple as soap? In a new study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, scientists at The University of Texas at El Paso have made a compelling case for it. The team has found that adding small quantities of liquid soap to some classes of pesticides can boost their potency by more than ten-fold.  The discovery is promising news as malaria-carrying mosquitoes display ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

BioOne announces Subscribe to Open Pilot

Unveiling a new era of imaging: Boston University engineers lead breakthrough microscopy techniques

New wearable communication system offers potential to reduce digital health divide

In hotter regions, mammals seek forests, avoid human habitats

Leukemia cells activate cellular recycling program

Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories partner with CMBlu Energy for innovative long-duration energy storage project

CCNY researchers publish optical data storage breakthrough in Nature Nanotechnology

Diet has a major impact on risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Study shows how ethical brands fare in a recession

New technique efficiently offers insight into gene regulation

U of M Medical School study finds visions of nonphysical world are common among cognitively healthy Ojibwe individuals

Consistency key to corporate expressions of racial solidarity

How mountains affect El Niño-induced winter precipitation

ECHO research examines nutrition data's value from pregnancy to adolescence in understanding child health

Training the immune system to prevent cancer – NextGen researchers discover paradigm-shifting approach

Snail-inspired robot could scoop ocean microplastics

Georgia State professor granted $5 million to identify and characterize objects in space

Immune protein may induce dementia unrelated to high blood pressure

Q&A: How can Canada best meet its commitment to protecting 30% of its land by 2030?

Eating disorder hospitalizations on the rise, affecting 'atypical' groups the most

Brains of newborns aren't underdeveloped compared to other primates

Mortality and morbidity among individuals with hypertension receiving a diuretic, ace inhibitor, or calcium channel blocker

Types of on-screen content and mental health in kindergarten children

Maternal prenatal depressive symptoms and fetal growth during the critical rapid growth stage

About 20% of patients listed as alive in their electronic health records were actually deceased according to California data

Dietary environmental factors shape the immune defense against Cryptosporidium infection

New study maps ketamine's effects on brain

Studies help explain why some prostate cancers become resistant to hormone therapy

Hard to drug: Protein droplets reveal new ways to inhibit transcription factors in an aggressive form of prostate cancer

MD Anderson’s Katy Rezvani, M.D., receives 2023 Honorific Award from the American Society of Hematology

[Press-News.org] TTUHSC’s La-Beck to study cancer drug delivery via nanoparticles