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.
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.