Mon, 25 Sep 2023

SYDNEY, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers hope to make chemotherapy drugs more effective in treating brain cancers, with their findings announced on Wednesday.

A nanoparticle, which is one billionth of a meter in size, was developed by researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of New South Wales in a bid to target cancer cells and tackle aggressive brain tumors.

Data from Cancer Australia, a national government agency, showed that brain cancer was the ninth most common cause of cancer death in Australia in 2020. The chances of surviving the illness for more than five years is less than 23 percent.

Taskeen Janjua, research team lead and UQ's research officer, said that the new silica nanoparticle can be loaded with temozolomide, a small molecule drug used to treat tumors known as glioblastoma.

According to their study published in the Journal of Controlled Release, results from mice showed that the nanoparticles successfully accumulated in the brain within a few hours without any negative effects on vital organs.

"This chemotherapy drug has limitations - it doesn't stay in the blood for very long, it can be pushed out of the brain, and it doesn't have high penetration from blood into the brain," Janjua said.

"To make the drug more effective, we developed an ultra-small, large pore nanoparticle to help it move through the blood-brain barrier and penetrate the tumor while also reducing unwanted patient side effects," she noted.

This strategy could be a more effective way to treat brain cancer and prevent it from coming back, she said.

Amirali Popat, co-author of the study and UQ's associate professor, said that the results were promising, but more research was required.

"This innovative drug delivery system has the potential to improve the effectiveness of brain cancer treatment and could lead to new and better treatments for this devastating disease," Popat said.

This preclinical research will accelerate future clinical development of promising health technology and further the goal of improving outcomes for patients with brain cancer, the scholar added.

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