Radiation-Free Method to Track Suspicious Lymph Nodes in Case of Cancer

“Researchers at the UT Research Institute MIRA have developed a new method for tracing the sentinel lymph node, the node by which you can tell whether a patient’s cancer has spread. Martijn Visscher demonstrated that you can find the node using magnetic nanoparticles, a simple set-up and a clever way of measuring. The patented find, which can quickly be put into practice, will prevent patients from being unnecessarily exposed to ionizing radiation. Visscher will obtain his doctoral degree on 27 August.

“In order to determine whether a patient suffering from cancer has metastases, doctors will start looking for the sentinel lymph node, the first lymph node after the tumour. When cells break free from the tumour, that’s where they go first. Therefore, if a patient has a ‘clean’ sentinel lymph node, the cancer has essentially not spread. Right now, tracking this node generally occurs with the help of radioactive particles. Downside to this method is that you expose the patient to damaging radiation. Because the particles are very perishable and potentially dangerous, they’re a logistic nightmare: both in the area of transport and the scheduling of surgeries (in addition, many patients remain deprived of the particles because there’s no suitable nuclear facility in the vicinity). In the Netherlands, thousands of cancer patients undergo the sentinel lymph node procedure every year.”


Genprex Begins Phase II Clinical Trial for Lung Cancer

Genprex, Inc. announced today that it has enrolled the first patient in a clinical trial evaluating its lead product candidate Oncoprex® in combination with erlotinib (Tarceva®) for late-stage lung cancer patients. Oncoprex is a targeted biologic incorporating the pan-kinase inhibitor TUSC2, which inhibits oncogenic kinases via multiple pathways.

“The trial is significant in that it seeks to determine if patients without the EGFR activating mutation as well as patients with the EGFR activating mutation whose cancer has progressed after erlotinib treatment can benefit from the Oncoprex + erlotinib combination therapy. While erlotinib is a blockbuster drug helping many cancer patients worldwide, research shows that the vast majority of patients who have lung cancers without the activating EGFR mutation are unlikely to benefit from erlotinib. Additionally, many patients with the activating EGFR mutation who respond to erlotinib therapy eventually become resistant to the therapy.

Editor’s note: Clinical trials are studies done with volunteer patients to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments (learn more in our lung cancer KnowledgeBase). This clinical trial is testing a new targeted therapy drug called Oncoprex. When combined with the drug erlotinib (Tarceva), Oncoprex may help treat patients who usually do not benefit from erlotinib or who have grown resistant to it.


Chemotherapy Timing is Key to Success — Nanoparticles that Stagger Delivery of 2 Drugs Knock out Aggressive Tumors in Mice

“MIT researchers have devised a novel cancer treatment that destroys tumor cells by first disarming their defenses, then hitting them with a lethal dose of DNA damage.

“In studies with mice, the research team showed that this one-two punch, which relies on a nanoparticle that carries two drugs and releases them at different times, dramatically shrinks lung and breast tumors. The MIT team, led by Michael Yaffe, the David H. Koch Professor in Science, and Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, describe the findings in the online edition of Science Signaling.”


Editor’s note: This story is about a new treatment that has been studied in mice. While it is possible that the treatment could eventually make it to clinical trials with humans, the treatment currently cannot be used to treat cancer.


New Way to Find and Kill Cancer Cells

A tiny new particle could pack a powerful anticancer punch, promising to speed diagnosis and pinpoint drug delivery. Conventional nanoparticles can only carry cancer-fighting materials on their surfaces, limiting their effectiveness. In contrast, the new ‘Janus’ nanoparticle has a porous interior that lets it carry cancer tests and treatments at the same time. Other uses for the new particle include delivering fluorescent dyes to illuminate cancer cells, making them easier for surgeons to find. This technological advance was presented at the 2013 Materials Science & Technology Conference in Canada.


New Way to Find and Kill Cancer Cells

A tiny new particle could pack a powerful anticancer punch, promising to speed diagnosis and pinpoint drug delivery. Conventional nanoparticles can only carry cancer-fighting materials on their surfaces, limiting their effectiveness. In contrast, the new ‘Janus’ nanoparticle has a porous interior that lets it carry cancer tests and treatments at the same time. Other uses for the new particle include delivering fluorescent dyes to illuminate cancer cells, making them easier for surgeons to find. This technological advance was presented at the 2013 Materials Science & Technology Conference in Canada.


New Way to Find and Kill Cancer Cells

A tiny new particle could pack a powerful anticancer punch, promising to speed diagnosis and pinpoint drug delivery. Conventional nanoparticles can only carry cancer-fighting materials on their surfaces, limiting their effectiveness. In contrast, the new ‘Janus’ nanoparticle has a porous interior that lets it carry cancer tests and treatments at the same time. Other uses for the new particle include delivering fluorescent dyes to illuminate cancer cells, making them easier for surgeons to find. This technological advance was presented at the 2013 Materials Science & Technology Conference in Canada.


New Nanopharmaceutical May Be Able to Overcome Resistance to Antiangiogenic Treatment

The nanopharmaceutical CRLX101, a novel inhibitor of topoisomerase-1 and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 alpha, may be capable of overcoming resistance of tumors to antiangiogenic agents, according to preclinical and early clinical studies that have evaluated CRLX101 in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin) and other antiangiogenic agents.


Using Shape Effects to Target Antibody-Coated Nanoparticles to Lung and Brain Endothelium

“Vascular endothelium offers a variety of therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Significant research has been focused on developing agents to target the endothelium in diseased tissues. This includes identification of antibodies against adhesion molecules and neovascular expression markers or peptides discovered using phage display. Such targeting molecules also have been used to deliver nanoparticles to the endothelium of the diseased tissue. Here we report, based on in vitro and in vivo studies, that the specificity of endothelial targeting can be enhanced further by engineering the shape of ligand-displaying nanoparticles.”


Using Shape Effects to Target Antibody-Coated Nanoparticles to Lung and Brain Endothelium

“Vascular endothelium offers a variety of therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Significant research has been focused on developing agents to target the endothelium in diseased tissues. This includes identification of antibodies against adhesion molecules and neovascular expression markers or peptides discovered using phage display. Such targeting molecules also have been used to deliver nanoparticles to the endothelium of the diseased tissue. Here we report, based on in vitro and in vivo studies, that the specificity of endothelial targeting can be enhanced further by engineering the shape of ligand-displaying nanoparticles.”