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A new research found that a 70-year-old malaria drug can block immune cells in the liver and allow nanoparticles to arrive at the tumor site.The researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute showed that the malaria drug chloroquine blocked macrophages, cells from the immune system that identify foreign objects, and destroyed them.
Many cases of cancer patients do not respond well to chemotherapies because medicinal drugs cannot reach the cancer cells.Even using nanoparticles as the drug delivery system is also inefficient to reach the tumor site -- only one percent of the drug dose can reach the intended target.The reason is that immune cells located in the liver and spleen filter the nanoparticles and the drug they carry.
Chloroquine, a 70-year-old drug designed to treat malaria, was used by the researchers in this study.It reduced the body's capability to filter the drug-carrying nanoparticles and improved the drug delivery to breast cancer cells.The research team injected chloroquine in mice models followed by the injection of nanoparticles.They found a stunning result from the test.The nanoparticles remained in circulation and accumulated in the tumor cells of the mice models.The tiny particles also remained in the lungs that suggested application of the method to enhance treatments for lung disorders.
What are Macrophages
Macrophages are a type of phagocyte and they detect, devour, and destroy pathogens in the body.These immune cells came from the differentiation of another called monocyte and these roam the body to find invaders.When inflammation happens, monocytes become macrophages by undergoing a series of process.The main weapon used by macrophages is called phagocytosis and through this, the macrophages engulf and destroy defective or pathogenic cells.
It is a well-known medication used to prevent and treat malaria.Chloroquine is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disorder.The drug is effective against malaria-causing microbes Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae.However, the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum is resistant to chloroquine.
The medication has several side effects such as seizures, deafness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, skin itchiness and skin rashes, hair loss, hypotension, and an unpleasant metallic taste.
There are special precautions people should know about chloroquine that must be discussed with your physician or a pharmacist.
- Any allergic reaction to chloroquine phosphate, chloroquine hydrochloride, hydroxychloroquine or any similar medications.
- Current prescription or nonprescription drugs being taken.Certain medications like acetaminophen, iron products, kaolin, niacin, and vitamins must be mentioned to your healthcare provider.
- Any history of liver disease, alcohol consumption, psoriasis, hearing problems, G-6-PD deficiency, and porphyria should be discussed with your doctor.
- If you're pregnant, planning to be pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed.Chloroquine may harm your nursing infant.
Nanomedicine on Cancer
Today, cancer treatments can now use nanoparticles to allow a broader range of options for the clinician and the patient.Nanotechnology can improve detection of tumors, enhance imaging results, and enable targeted cancer therapies.
1.Nanotechnology on Tumor Detection – Clinicians search for cancer biomarkers, indicators secreted by tumors spreading in the body.However, these biomarkers usually present themselves in very low concentrations to be detected in the early phase of the disease.By using nanoparticles, clinicians can induce tumor cells to produce more biomarkers that help in accurate diagnosis.
2.Nanotechnology on Imaging – Clinicians can use iron oxide nanoparticles with a special coating to bind with cancer cells.The magnetic properties of the nanoparticles make them convenient imaging agents for scanning tools, such as in magnetic resonance imaging, while their concentration and size inside cancer cells allow high-resolution and accurate mapping of the affected area.This is very important to surgeons because it allows them to properly select and execute a plan for tumor extraction.Photo By anyaivanova via Shutterstock
3.Nanotechnology on Therapies – Nanoparticles containing chemotherapy can be used to deliver the cancer medication at a localized level.It increases the amount of treatment received by the patient and reduces the adverse effects to healthy tissues on the body.Sometimes, nanoparticles that do not carry any drugs may be injected directly into tumor cells.Clinicians will activate these nanoparticles using magnetic fields from x-rays or light rays to produce heat.The heat from these tiny materials destroys cancer cells.
Cancer is one of the main causes of mortality in the world.It is accounted for 7.6 million deaths in 2008.About 60 percent of deaths in developing countries are associated with cancer.
- In 2020, at least 15 million new medical cases in the world are expected to be related to cancer.
- More than 90 percent of cancer-related mortality was caused by metastasis, the process of malignant tumor cells spreading to different parts of the body.
- The most common cancer type diagnosed in the world is lung cancer with at least 13 percent total of new cases in 2012.
- The second common cancer type diagnosed in women worldwide is breast cancer with almost 1.7 million total of new cases in 2012.
- The third most common cancer type diagnosed in the world is colorectal cancer with almost 1.4 million total of news cases in 2012.