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Jan 9, 2020

Nanoparticles deliver ‘suicide gene’ therapy to pediatric brain tumors growing in mice

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Johns Hopkins researchers report that a type of biodegradable, lab-engineered nanoparticle they fashioned can successfully deliver a “suicide gene” to pediatric brain tumor cells implanted in the brains of mice. The poly(beta-amino ester) nanoparticles, known as PBAEs, were part of a treatment that also used a drug to kill the cells and prolong the test animals’ survival.

In their study, described in a report published January 2020 in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, the researchers caution that for safety and biological reasons, it is unlikely that the herpes simplex virus type I thymidine kinase (HSVtk)—which makes tumor cells more sensitive to the lethal effects of the anti-viral drug ganciclovir—could be the exact therapy used to treat human medulloblastoma and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RT) in children.

So-called “suicide ” have been studied and used in cancer treatments for more than 25 years. The HSVtk gene makes an enzyme that helps restore the function of natural tumor suppression.

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