Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, have used natural polymer-based smart nanoparticles to treat colorectal cancer. According to officials, these nanoparticles release the drug in response to stimuli that are specific to cancer site only.
The findings of the research with inputs from University of Massachusetts Medical School professor Neal Silverman, have been published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers.
Garima Agrawal, Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT-Mandi said colorectal cancer is a devastating disease leading to increased mortality worldwide and it also causes a heavy financial burden on the healthcare system globally.
It is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common in women worldwide, and accounts for eight per cent of all cancer deaths making it the fourth most common cause of death due to cancer in the world, Agrawal, who led the research, said.
"One of the driving interests among the material science and healthcare community performing interdisciplinary work is the development of biodegradable nanoparticles from renewable resources and designing them in such a way that they can release the drug in response to stimuli which are specific to cancer site only," she said.
"The designed system should be capable of supporting drugs having different solubility in water. In this regard, the simplest approach that we followed for developing biodegradable nanoparticles is using chitosan, which is a naturally derived polymer, in combination with disulfide chemistry," she added.
The researchers claim they have developed biodegradable nanoparticles from renewable resources, thus reducing the dependency on petroleum-based polymers. These smart nanoparticles are stable under physiological conditions and degrade at tumour sites in the presence of redox stimuli of cancer cells.
"These nanoparticles can be used to successfully load and release both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs having a different anticancer mechanism, which can help improve the treatment efficiency. We plan to perform further biological studies to gain deeper insight into the potential of the developed system for colorectal cancer treatment," said research scholar Aastha Gupta.
(With PTI inputs)