Editors' ChoiceNanomedicine

Nanoparticles and Jelly

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Science Translational Medicine  13 Apr 2011:
Vol. 3, Issue 78, pp. 78ec52
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002483

Although many fruit jellies are now available in seedless versions, the image of traditional raspberry jelly containing seeds is helpful to describe a new gel-based anticancer drug delivery system. Ding et al. have prepared cisplatin-loaded nanoparticles, which are then dispersed in a gelatin hydrogel, for implantation near a tumor. Just as the consistency of raspberry jelly changes when spread over a warm biscuit, this drug delivery system—a gel at room temperature and during the hydrogel implantation surgery—converts to a viscous fluid at 37°C, which coats the tumor surface and allows widespread nanoparticle diffusion.

Gelatin–poly(acrylic acid) nanoparticles approximately 100 nm in diameter were complexed with cisplatin—a powerful chemotherapeutic—and suspended in the hydrogel (the “jelly”). In vitro release of both the nanoparticles from the jelly and cisplatin from the nanoparticles was gradual and could be sustained over the course of at least 5 days. After cytotoxicity experiments in a gastric carcinoma cell line, the authors tested this drug delivery system in mice that had been implanted with H22 hepatoma cells to form a tumor. Compared with intravenous administration of cisplatin nanoparticles, the cisplatin-nanoparticle jelly resulted in greater drug accumulation in tumor tissue after 12 hours. Tumor growth inhibition was also substantially improved, and the survival rate after 60 days was fourfold higher in the nanoparticle jelly group. Fluorescence imaging showed homogeneous distribution of the nanoparticles in the tumor interior, coupled with minimal non–target-tissue drug accumulation; such tumor specificity might therefore reduce the nephrotoxicity often associated with cisplatin therapy.

The nanoparticle jelly drug delivery system developed by Ding and colleagues represents a creative therapeutic strategy to not only increase the amount of anticancer agent that reaches the tumor interior, but also reduce side effects in healthy tissues. Surgical implantation of this system could provide clinical benefits as a locoregional treatment for various tumors. Another application is its use as a postsurgical chemotherapeutic coating on remnant tumor cells in order to prevent metastasis, because the jelly may provide continued anticancer therapy for several weeks.

D. Ding et al., Nanospheres-incorporated implantable hydrogel as a trans-tissue drug delivery system, ACS Nano (10.1021/nn102138u), 23 March 2011. [Abstract]

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