(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr. Licence 2.0)

Administering an FDA-approved nutrition source called Intralipid before nano-drug chemotherapy can reduce the amount of the toxic drugs that settle in the spleen, liver, and kidneys, researchers report.

“This methodology could have a major impact in the deliver y of nano-drugs…”

Nano-drugs, drugs attached to tiny biocompatible particles, show great promise in treatment of a number of diseases, including cancer. Delivery of these drugs, however, is not very efficient—only about 0.7 percent of chemotherapy nano drugs reach their target tumour cells. Cells, including those in the liver, spleen, and kidneys, absorb the remainder.

When the drugs build up in these organs, they cause toxicity and side effects that negatively affect a patient’s quality of life.

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Chien Ho, a professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, and his colleagues found that administering Intralipid temporarily blunts the reticuloendothelial system—a network of cells and tissues found throughout the body, including in the blood, lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, that play an important role in the immune system.

Ho and colleagues tested their technique in a rat model of cancer using three FDA-approved chemotherapy nano-drugs, Abraxane, Marqibo, and Onivyde, and one experimental platinum-based anti-cancer nano-drug. Their findings are described in the journal Scientific Reports. 

In the study, they administered Intralipid one hour before giving the animal a chemotherapy nano-drug. They found that their method reduced the amount of the drug that was found in the liver, spleen, and kidneys and reduced the drugs’ toxic side-effects. They also found that more of the drug was available to attack tumour cells. Additionally, the Intralipid treatment had no harmful impact on tumour growth or drug efficacy.

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The researchers believe that they can apply their drug delivery methodology to a variety of nano-drugs without any modifications to the drugs.

“This methodology could have a major impact in the delivery of nano-drugs not only for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment but also to those being treated with nano-drugs for other conditions,” says Ho.


Materials provided by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.