Polymer Nanoflower Encapsulates Two Cancer Drugs to Hit Tumors with More Punch


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Lyra Nara Blog

Many existing anti-cancer drugs can be disappointingly ineffective in clinical practice, but often it is the delivery method and not the medication itself that limits effectiveness. Being able to deliver multiple drugs together, each with a different mechanism of action, to their target can be considerably more powerful than separate administrations. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a “nanoflower” made out of a hydrophilic polymer that carries camptothecin and doxorubicin directly into cancer cells.

nanoflower Polymer Nanoflower Encapsulates Two Cancer Drugs to Hit Tumors with More Punch

The hydrophobic drugs are encapsulated within the polyethylene glycol structure similarly to how proteins fold in on themselves. At about 50 nanometers in diameter, the nanoflowers can be injected into the bloodstream to seek out cancer cells. In an animal study, the structures stayed together until they penetrated lung cancer cells by taking advantage of “lipid raft and clathrin-mediated endocytotic pathway without premature leakage,” according…

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Human Infra-patellar Fat Pad-Derived Stromal Cells Show Great Cartilage-Making Potential, Which is Enhanced By Connective Tissue Components


With age and overuse, our knees wear out and we sometimes need an artificial one. The cartilage shock absorber at the ends of our bones simply does not regenerate very well, and this results in large problems when we get older.

Is there an effective way to regenerate cartilage? Stem cells do have the ability to make cartilage, but finding the right stem cell and delivering enough of them to make a difference remains a challenge.

To that end, Tang-Yuan Chu and his colleagues from Tzu Chi University and the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualien, Taiwan have discovered that stem cells from the fat pad that surrounds the knee appear to be one of the best sources of cartilage-making cells for the knee.

The infra-patellar fat pad or IFP contains a stem cell population called infra-patellar fat pad-derived stromal cells or IFPSCs. These IFPSCs were isolated by Chu and his colleagues from patients who were undergoing arthroscopic surgery. When Chu and others grew these cells in culture, the IFPSCs grew robustly for two weeks. The culture protocol was a standard one and no special requirements were required. In fact, after two weeks, the IFPSCs grew to more than 10 million cells on the third passage.

When the ability of IFPSCs to form cartilage-making cells (chondrocytes) were compared with mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, fat and umbilical cord connective tissue (Wharton’s jelly), the IFPSCs showed a clear superiority to these other cells types, and differentiated into chondrocytes quite effectively.

Next, Chu and his crew cultured the IFPSCs on a material called hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a common component of the synovial fluid that helps lubricate our larger joints and in connective tissue, and basement membranes upon which epithelial cells sit.

Hyaluronic Acid

When grown on 25% HA, the IFPSCs were better at making bone or fat than IFPSCs grown on no HA. Furthermore, when grown on 25% HA, IFPSCs showed a four-fold increase in their ability to form chondrocytes. The HA also did not affect the ability of the cells to divide.

In conclusions, these IFPSCs seem to possess a strong potential to differentiate into chondrocytes and regenerate cartilage. Also, this ability is augmented in a growth environment of 25% HA. Certainly some preclinical trials with laboratory animal are due. Wouldn’t you say?

Source: Dah-Ching Ding; Kun-Chi Wu; Hsiang-Lan Chou; Wei-Ting Hung; Hwan-Wun Liu; Tang-Yuan Chu. Human infra-patellar fat pad-derived stromal cells have more potent differentiation capacity than other mesenchymal cells and can be enhanced by hyaluronan.  Cell Transplantation, http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368914X681937.