In a world-first, researchers from the Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney – Australia – have developed a nanoparticle that could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy for neuroblastoma by a factor of five. Neuroblastoma is an aggressive childhood cancer that often leaves survivors with lingering health problems due to the high doses of chemotherapy drugs required for treatment. Anything that can potentially reduce these doses is considered an important development. The UNSW researchers developed a non-toxic nanoparticle that can deliver and release nitric oxide (NO) to specific cancer cells in the body. The findings of their in vitro experiments have been published in the journal Chemical Communications.
“When we injected the chemo drug into the neuroblastoma cells that had been pre-treated with our new nitric oxide nanoparticle we needed only one-fifth the dose,” says co-author Dr Cyrille Boyer from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW.
“By increasing the effectiveness of these chemotherapy drugs by a factor of five, we could significantly decrease the detrimental side-effects to healthy cells and surrounding tissue.”