Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in Lipid Delivery System May Lead to Better Cancer Treatment

Lipids are frequently used to form drug carrying nanoparticles because of their favorable biocompatibility. However, construction of such drug-carrying lipid nanoparticles often involves multiple steps. A simplified method to produce drug-carrying, antibody-targeted, iron-oxide containing lipid-based aggregates was successfully created by collaborating scientists at MD Anderson, with support from Imagion Biosystems. The scientists also showed that when loaded with a chemotherapeutic agent, the aggregates delivered their toxic payload to cancer cells more efficiently when a magnetic field was applied.

The paper, “One-Pot, One-Step Synthesis of Drug Loaded Magnetic Multimicelle Aggregates” was recently published by the American Chemical Society. The lipid-based magnetic multimicelle aggregates (MaMAs) were produced in a “one-pot” reaction by infusing 25 nm oleic-acid coated iron oxide nanoparticles from Imagion Biosystems together with lipids in chloroform into a heated, ultrasonicated solution. As the chloroform evaporated, the predicted lipid self-assembly resulted in formation of the aggregates.

Other groups have produced MaMAs, but the process required the formation of a “lipid cake” followed by steps that produced liposomes, or if emulsified, micelles, and often require extra steps to incorporate iron oxide nanoparticles. The “one-pot” method simplifies the process, decreases the time required, increases the yield, is more reproducible, and produces MaMAs of higher quality.

The chemotherapeutic agent the scientists used, doxorubicin, is notorious for side effects such as hair loss and nausea. However, lipid-based micelles can travel in the bloodstream for some time before fusing with their target and have shown promise as delivery platforms for drugs. By packaging the chemotherapeutic agent in a lipid micelle, the possible systemic effects are minimized, specifically inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue relatively unscathed.

The MaMAs bore the iron oxide nanoparticles, the chemotherapeutic agent, and an antibody to certain forms of breast cancer. In their in vitro experiments, the scientists found the MaMAs migrated toward cancer cells and had anti-proliferative activity on their own, but this activity was enhanced in the presence of a magnetic field.

MaMAs such as the ones created for this study might be used under a magnetic field to detect and treat cancer.

Click here for the paper at the publisher’s site.

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