The National Science Council (NSC) yesterday announced the results of research on developing new types of targeted drug delivery using magnetic nanoparticles that could improve the treatment of malignant tumors.
In a council-sponsored project, Hua Mu-yi (華沐怡), a professor from Chang Gung University’s chemical and materials engineering department, and her student Yang Hung-wei (楊閎蔚) designed a series of nano-drugs without biological toxicity, which have high magnetic permeability and can be used in molecular targeted therapy and magnetic resonance imaging.
Hua said chemotherapy for treating cancer often requires the injection of heavy doses of drugs to treat cancer cells that have many side effects and could harm other cells in the body.
By synthesizing the new drugs with magnetic nanoparticles and placing a magnetic field around the tumor, the drugs can be effectively delivered to the targeted cancer cells and the doses of the drugs can be reduced, she said.
Experiments with laboratory mice show that these types of drugs are more stable and more effective in treating lethal multidrug-resistant bladder cancer, prostate cancer and malignant brain tumor.
Hua said with the positive experiment results in the lab, the team is looking forward to seeing clinical trials of the new type of nano drug.
However, to enhance precision targeting, she said a machine that can create a focusable magnetic field still has to be invented.
This way, drugs delivered by magnetic nanoparticles can reach the targeted cancer cells with the aid of the focusable magnetic field, regardless of the depth, size, or location of the tumor in the body.