Drug action in pancreatic cancer tracked and improved by nanotechnology

Share this article:

Tiny biosensors used with new advanced imaging techniques are markedly improving drug targeting of solid tumors, according to new research. These new technologies work in real time and in three dimensions. They can show how cancers spread and how active cancer cells respond to a particular drug. They can also indicate how much, how often, and how long to administer drugs. Preclinical models of the disease can allow them to guide the use of combination therapies that enhance drug delivery by breaking up the tissue surrounding a tumor.

The signaling protein Src, which becomes activated and drives invasive pancreatic cancer, was examined in this study. The study also examined how dasatinib, which is currently in phase II clinical trials, could deactivate Src.  

“We have already shown that Src is activated in pancreatic tumors and we knew that dasatinib deactivates Src and could partially reduce the spread of this form of cancer. Through a collaborative partner in the US, we had access to FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) imaging technology,” said Paul Timpson, PhD, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.

Studies of tumor signaling have been limited to two dimensional and lacked dynamic reporting on targeted drug therapy in live tumor tissue. Nanotechnology opens a portal that allows researchers to watch cancer metastasize and to determine where in the tumor to direct targeted drug therapy.

FRET enables mapping of highly aggressive areas and regions in which drug delivery is poor deep within a tumor. The imaging technology can identify where improvements in drug delivery are needed to improve clinical outcome.

Pancreatic tumors are difficult to treat because they are extremely dense with collagen and have poor blood vessel networks for drug delivery.

Co-author Kurt Anderson, PhD, of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, United Kingdom, observed that combination therapies can be used to break down collagen, weakening tumor architecture and making it easier to get the drugs where they need to be. “The trick is to break down the structure just enough to get the drug in, but not so much that you damage the organ itself,” Anderson said. “These new FRET technologies help us gauge what is just enough and not too much.”

The researchers findings were published in Cancer Research (2013; doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-4545).
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs

More in Web Exclusives

Gene likely to promote childhood cancers pinpointed

Researchers have identified a gene that contributes to the development of several childhood cancers, research that could lead to new strategies for targeting certain childhood cancers at a molecular level.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening reduces incidence and death rate for colorectal cancer

Screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy resulted in a reduced incidence and rate of death of colorectal cancer, compared with no screening, according to a recent study.

Black Women's Health Study (BWHS) shows exercise improves breast cancer risk for ...

This recently published study found strong evidence linking physical exercise to a lower rate of breast cancer in African American women, a group in which previous evidence has been lacking.