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    Nanomedicine: Tiny ‘Packages’ to Deliver Drug, Help Treat Brain Tumors

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    Tiny drug carriers could help treat brain tumors more efficiently as they are able to get through natural barriers and deliver chemotherapeutic drugs more efficiently, a new study has found.

    Brain cancer has a significant overall mortality rate, partially because of its location, the difficulty of surgery and the inability to get drugs through the blood-brain barrier, a natural protective barrier that keeps a stable environment within the brain and around it.

    A team of scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) engineered a micelle, a phospholipid nanocarrier, to deliver a concentrated dose of the chemotherapy drug temozolomide (TMZ) to the brain tumor cells.

    "Micelles of a certain size will cross the blood-brain barrier carrying a concentrated amount of TMZ," the study's author Ann-Marie Broome explained. The mechanism uses the power of a platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a protein that regulates cell growth and division and is also over expressed on tumor cells in the brain.

    "The PDGF is used much like a postal address. The micelle gets it to the street, and the PDGF gets it to the house," Broome added.

    She also noted that the nanocarriers are stable and stealthy. "Your immune cells can't attack them. They remain hidden."

    The team is excited about the new research because it potentially points the way to a new treatment option. "It will allow us eventually to target aggressive childhood and adult brain tumors," said researcher and clinician Amy Lee Bredlau, director of MUSC Health's Pediatric Brain Tumor Program.

    health, nanotechnology, brain tumor, United States
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