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Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a way to effectively deliver staurosporine (STS), a powerful anti-cancer compound that has vexed researchers for more than 30 years due to its instability in the blood and toxic nature in both healthy and cancerous cells. For the first time, the new method safely delivered STS to mouse tumors, suppressing them with no apparent side effects. The results were published online in the International Journal of Nanomedicine.
"By itself, staurosporine shows potent activity against a number of cancer cell lines, including chemotherapy-resistant tumors. However, it also harms normal tissue," said senior author Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, director of neuro-oncology at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. "With this study, we have been able to overcome the pharmacokinetic barriers to delivering staurosporine to tumors with the use of liposomes."
STS was originally isolated from the bacterium Streptomyces staurosporeus in 1977. The compound prompts a wide variety of cancer cell types to self-destruct, a process called apoptosis or programmed cell death. In its free form, STS is quickly metabolized and harmful to healthy cells. By trapping STS in tiny spheres called liposomes, Moores Cancer Center researchers have been able to effectively deliver the compound, past healthy tissue, to the tumor, with potent results.
Liposomes are microscopic bubbles made from the same molecules as cell membranes. Researchers use these hollow spheres to deliver therapeutic agents. Anti-cancer drugs can be loaded inside, while disguising agents coat the external membrane surface to hide the cancer-killer from the immune system.
High-efficiency liposomal encapsulation of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor leads to improved in vivo toxicity and tumor response profile . Contributors to this paper included Rajesh Mukthavaram, Pengfei Jiang, Rohit Saklecha, Dmitri Simberg, Ila Sri Bharati, Natsuko Nomura, Ying Chao, Sandra Pastorino, Sandeep C. Pingle, Valentina Fogal, and Wolf Wrasidlo of UC San Diego Health Sciences. International Journal of Nanomedicine. Published Date October 2013 Volume 2013:8(1) Pages 3991 - 4006 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S51949
This work was supported in part by NIH grants (NIH 3P3#0CA23100-25S8) and by the Tuttleman Family Foundation.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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