Nanoparticles could be the answer to better treatment for triple negative breast cancerMarch 9th, 2017
NBCF-funded Dr Anabel Sorolla-Bardaji is exploring the use of nanoparticles in treating triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive type of breast cancer, for which there are not yet any effective treatments.
Dr Sorolla-Bardaji is specifically targeting a large sub-set of triple negative breast cancers, called basal-like tumours, which are particularly resistant to standard treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy, and have one of the poorest survival rates of all breast cancers.
Nanoparticles and their role
Nanoparticles are teeny tiny spheres that can be used to carry drugs through the blood stream.
Dr Sorolla-Bardaji has designed the nanoparticles to not only carry chemotherapy, but she has also attached a type of peptide to its surface. This modification means the nanoparticles will attach only to basal-like cancer cells and make them more susceptible to the chemotherapy.
By encapsulating both chemotherapy and peptides, the nanoparticle hides them from the body’s immune system which would recognise them as foreign entities and try to eliminate them.
Protected within the nanoparticle, the peptide/chemotherapy combination can be delivered straight to the basal-like breast tumour, effectively killing the cancer cells – especially those most resistant to chemotherapy.
Dr Sorolla-Bardaji has seen some exciting preliminary results from her research, watching the activity via a super powerful microscope. She has seen the nanoparticle/peptide combination attack the basal-like cancer cells, while for the most part, ignoring healthy cells.
Nanoparticles are already being used in medicine to transport treatment throughout the body. This study aims to realise the greater potential of this next-generation technology, where combination treatments can be designed to hone in on specific targets to improve treatment, giving hope of more refined treatments for women with triple negative breast cancer.
Research is the only way to end breast cancer. You can help NBCF-funded researchers like Dr Sorolla-Bardaji by donating now, using the link below: