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Nanocapsule reaches cancer that has spread to central nervous system in mice

Date: 14.8.2019 

Cancer that has spread to the central nervous system is notoriously difficult to treat. Now, UCLA researchers have developed a drug delivery system that breaks through the blood-brain barrier in order to reach and treat cancer that has spread to the central nervous system.

Kredit: Milo Mitchell/UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.In research conducted in mice, a single dose of cancer drugs in a nanoscale capsule developed by the scientists eliminated all B-cell lymphoma that had metastasized to the animals' central nervous system.

About 15% to 40% of all cancers spread to the nervous system, but there are few treatment options and they only work in a small number of patients. One reason treatments are ineffective is that the blood-brain barrier, a natural defense system that prevents harmful agents from entering the brain, blocks many drugs, preventing them from reaching cancer that has spread to the central nervous system.

To create a vessel that could carry cancer drugs to the central nervous system, the scientists produced a capsule measuring about one nanometer, or one billionth of a meter, across. (For reference, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.) The capsule is coated with a substance called 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine, which they hypothesized would be unlikely to be blocked by the blood-brain barrier, which would enable the capsule to release antibodies when it came into close proximity with cancerous cells.





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