Recent research suggests that a novel material called nanosponge could be up to five times more effective at reducing tumor growth than direct injection.
The drug delivery system is likened to filling virus-sized sponges with an anti-cancer drug, attaching chemical linkers that bond to a feature on the surface of tumor cells, then injecting the sponges into the body. When the sponges come into contact with a tumor cell, they either attach to the surface or are sucked into the cell, where they offload their deadly contents in a predictable and controlled manner.
The research team was led by Eva Harth, assistant professor of chemistry at Vanderbilt University, and Dennis E. Hallahan from the Washington University School of Medicine. “Effective targeted drug delivery systems have been a dream for a long time now but it has been largely frustrated by the complex chemistry that is involved,” said Harth. “We have taken a significant step toward overcoming these obstacles.”
Delivery systems such as these are advantageous because the drug is released directly at the site of the tumor rather than circulating through the body, thus it should be more effective for a given dosage. In addition, there could be less harmful side effects because smaller quantities of the drug have contact with healthy tissue.