Could magnetically guide cancer drugs in the body
Reserachers in India are exploring the use of hydrogel nanoparticles to deliver antitumor drugs at cancer sites. Impregnated with iron oxide nanoparticles, the drug-bearing hydrogel particles could be directed inside the body using external magnetic fields, the researchers report.
"The delivery of 5-fluoro-uracil [5-FU] by hydrogel nanoparticles offers the possibility of maximizing its efficacy and safety and provides a suitable rate of delivery of the therapeutic dose at the most appropriate site in the body," said A.K. Bajpai, PhD, and Raje Chouhan, of the Government Autonomous Science College in Jabalpur, India, in an e-mail to PFQ.
Dr. Bajpai, a professor of chemistry at the college, and Ms. Chouhan, a graduate student there, recently described the loading and release of 5-FU from hydrogel nanoparticles. (Chouhan R, Bajpai AK. An in vitro release study of 5-fluoro-uracil (5-FU) from swellable poly-(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) nanoparticles. J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2009;20(5):1103-1114.)
The researchers noted that although 5-FU is widely used as an anticancer agent, it is highly toxic and quickly metabolized by the body. Sustained release of the drug from a PHEMA hydrogel carrier could prolong the duration of pharmacologic activity, reduce side effects, and minimize the frequency of administration, they said.
"In order to achieve targeted drug delivery, we have planned to design magnetic PHEMA nanoparticles which could target the affected tumor or diseased sites after being guided via external magnetic field," the researchers said. "For this purpose we have explored a novel approach by homogeneously impregnating iron oxide nanoparticles into the PHEMA nanoparticles matrix by [an] in situ precipitation route."
Pull1: The delivery of 5-fluorouracil [5-FU] by hydrogel nanoparticles offers the possibility of maximizing its efficacy and safety and provides a suitable rate of delivery of the therapeutic dose at the most appropriate site in the body.—A.K. Bajpai, PhD, and Raje Chouhan, Government Autonomous Science College