Researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center are developing a new strategy called bone-targeted nanoparticles to improve the delivery of the chemotherapy drug Jevtana (cabazitaxel) to bone metastasis in prostate cancer patients.
The preclinical research, titled “Efficient Bone Microenvironment Nano-Targeting for Improved Therapy for Bone Metastatic Prostate Cancer,” was presented during the 2017 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, California.
While the number of drugs approved to treat prostate cancer bone metastasis has increased in recent years, treatments still face many challenges. One of the most important is the difficulty of reaching the desired location, in this case, the bone.
To address this challenge, University of North Texas Health Science Center researchers developed a new nanoparticle-based system where chemotherapy-loaded nanoparticles are designed to bind to the bone’s chemical structure.
“A significant and troubling issue for prostate cancer patients is when the cancer spreads to the bone, resulting in difficult-to-treat and painful lesions,” Andrew Gdowski, the study’s first author, said in a press release. “A key focus for our research was to reduce tumor size and pain.”
Researchers tested the nanoparticles in mice with prostate tumors implanted in their bones. After receiving Jevtana-loaded nanoparticles for a month, mice no longer had bone lesions visible in X-rays. The mice also experienced a reduction in pain as shown by results of the von Frey assay, a functional pain status test.
The effects largely contrasted with those of non-targeted nanoparticles, where only 33% had no bone lesions. Also, all mice treated with Jevtana alone still had bone lesions.
“What is exciting is not only that these targeted nanoparticles work well to decrease tumor size but that we were able to maintain the bone structure and reduce pain, which is an ongoing challenge when treating these patients,” said Amalendu Ranjan, PhD, one of the study’s authors.
“Our bone targeted NP [nanoparticle] system can serve as a novel therapeutic platform for developing improved treatments for bone metastatic prostate cancer wherein not only do we show decrease in tumor burden but also improve the quality of life of such patients,” the researchers said.
The team will now conduct additional pre-clinical studies to validate the effectiveness of their nanoparticles. They also will investigate a method for producing the nanoparticles in large scales.