One of the difficulties doctors face in treating multiple myeloma (MM) comes from the fact that cancer cells of this type start to develop resistance to the leading chemotherapeutic treatment, doxorubicin, when they adhere to tissue in bone marrow. Now researchers from the University of Notre Dame have engineered nanoparticles that show great promise for the treatment of the MM, an incurable cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow.
The nanoparticles are coated with a special peptide that targets a specific receptor on the outside of multiple myeloma cells. These receptors cause the cells to adhere to bone marrow tissue and turn on the drug resistance mechanisms. But through the use of the newly developed peptide, the nanoparticles are able to bind to the receptors instead and prevent the cancer cells from adhering to the bone marrow in the first place.
Our research on mice shows that the nanoparticle formulation reduces the toxic effect doxorubicin has on other tissues, such as the kidneys and liver,” says Tanyel Kiziltepe , a research assistant professor with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and AD&T at Notre Dame University.