Scientists have proposed support for a targeted chemotherapy drug
Researchers from the Urals Federal University (UrFU) have proposed the use of polyoxometallate nanoclusters as a carrier for a chemotherapy drug. This will help deliver drugs precisely to the focus of a disease process, such as a cancerous tumor, without toxic effects on healthy cells. Administration can be effected either by electrophoresis or by injection into the bloodstream. The development is described in the Proceedings of the AIP conference.
“We explored molybdenum polyoxometalates. They are polyatomic ions composed of molybdenum and iron, joined by common oxygen atoms, containing organic groups. Their particularity is that they constitute a nanocluster on the surface of which a drug can be fixed and delivered to the tumor formation. Polyoxometallates themselves are not toxic to living cells and do not alter their function or morphology. On the contrary, the cells are able to absorb these nanocapsules without any damage. Polyoxometallates give in the body of warm-blooded animals the effect of increasing the level of hemoglobin and the number of red blood cells, which allows [us] to use them for the treatment and prevention of anemia (the development is patented),” explains Maria Ulitko, director of the Faculty of Biology and Basic Medicine at UrFU.
Additionally, the scientists plan to attach a carrier molecule to the surface of the polyoxometallate that can distinguish cancer cells and bind the nanocluster to them, bypassing healthy cells.
They tested how the nanocluster would interact with doxorubicin, a well-known cancer antibiotic. It is good at destroying tumor structures, but has poor selectivity. The high concentrations of drugs needed to destroy cancer cells are toxic to the weakened body. Scientists discovered how an antibiotic-containing polyoxometallate would affect healthy and tumor cells and selected the most effective concentration of the drug.
“The undeniable advantage of targeted delivery is the ability to adjust the drug dose. Our studies have shown that too high a concentration of doxorubicin in a polyoxometallate capsule will also lead to the death of healthy cells: the container will not be able to prevent the active substances from entering the DNA through the nuclear and cellular membranes”, explains Aleksandr. Ostroushko, head of the chemical materials science section at UrFU.
Research has also been carried out on the cell structures of cervical cancer (carcinoma). In the future, this delivery method may also be applied to other tumors. As the next stage of work, the scientists plan to conduct preclinical studies in laboratory animals to assess the therapeutic efficacy and safety of the system. The authors note that nanocluster compounds will be able to deliver other drugs, such as anti-inflammatories. The technology developed will help improve the accuracy of targeted delivery of drugs with significant side effects.
– This press release was originally published on the Ural Federal University website