Drug delivery is a one of the major challenges in cancer therapy as drugs cannot penetrate efficiently the core of soild tumors, especially in poorly-vascularized tumors, such as pancreatic adenocarcinomas. A recent study done at Dr. Ofra Benny’s lab
, published in the Journal of Controlled Release, shows that changing the mechanical properties of nanoparticle drug-carrier, without modifying its composition, can by itself enhance interactions with tumor cells. In this study, biodegradable polymer micelles composed of PEG-PLA were tested in their solidified form vs. their “wet” elastic form. It has been shown that solid particles have better internalization into tumor cells, and, in addition, they could penetrate into multi-layer cellular 3D culture which mimic the tumor microenvironment. This study suggests that transcytosis nanoparticle transport can provide an important mechanism for drug penetration into tumors, even when their stroma is dense. This work lay the ground for future rationale design of drug delivery systems, in respect to the vascular state of the tumor tissue.
Fluorescently labeled nanoparticles (green) inside a 3D multicellular spheroid, in red cancer cell, nuclei (blue)
Fluorescently labeled nanoparticles (green) inside cancer cell, nuclei (blue)