Mar 26, 2009
Antibody-guided carbon nanotubes target cancer
Frequent challenges encountered by current cancer treatments include low specificity of cancer cell killing and low drug delivering efficiency as well as serious side effects on normal tissues. Recent studies have shown that single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) can shuttle various molecular cargoes into cells without cytotoxicity thanks to the material's distinct architecture, hollow interior and cage-like structure. However, the non-specific cell targeting of SWNTs still remains as a barrier to medical applications.
To address the issue, Da Xing and co-workers at South China Normal University in Guangzhou, have combined the advantages of both SWNTs and integrin αvβ3 monoclonal antibody, a cancer cell specific targeting molecule, to develop a novel functional SWNT.
As shown in the figure above, the functional SWNT presented a high targeting efficiency on integrin αvβ3 -positive U87MG cells, while for integrin αvβ3 -negative MCF-7 cells the functional SWNT had a low targeting efficiency. In other words, the functional SWNTs can selectively recognize integrin αvβ3 -positive cancer cells with integrin αvβ3 monoclonal antibody, and afford no destruction of integrin αvβ3 -negative cancer cells and normal cells. As a result, the functional SWNT could open up exciting new venues for drug delivery and tumor targeting in cancer targeting therapy.
Further studies such as photoacoustic molecular imaging with integrin αvβ3 functionalized SWNTs in early tumour detection are now underway in our laboratory, although there is still a long way to go before the results could be adopted clinically.
The researchers presented their work in Nanotechnology.
About the author
The research was performed at Ministry of Education (MOE) Key Laboratory of Laser Life Science and Institute of Laser Life Science, South China Normal University in Guangzhou. Prof. Da Xing is the director of the MOE Key Laboratory of Laser Life Science and Institute of Laser Life Science. His co-researcher Dr Zhongmin Ou is currently exploring fabrication and characterization of functional cancer targeting nanomaterials, together with self-assembly of novel organic nanomaterials.