Engineers proposed novel approach to antibody-based imaging of cancer, according to a study published on October 11, 2018.
This study was conducted by the engineers at Cornell University. Safety associated with antibody-based imaging is a major hindrance faced by the ongoing clinical trials, worldwide. This novel approach is proposed by Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering in materials science and engineering at Cornell University, in collaboration with Dr. Michelle Bradbury of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Weill Cornell Medicine. They used ultrasmall silica nanoparticles known as ‘Cornell dots’ (or C dots) that were invented in their lab over a dozen years ago.
The C dots were equipped with antibody fragments by the research team. This research is expected to create a ‘whole new runway’ to employ antibody fragments for a number of diseases, cancer in particular, and for diagnostics as well as drug delivery. A specific fragment of the Y-shaped antibody was used by them against the whole molecule to keep the C’ dot within the size threshold for renal clearance. HER2-positive breast cancer, which is the target, is more aggressive and deadly than HER2-negative cancer, making it an attractive target for new diagnostics and therapies. An antibody fragment to specifically target the HER2 protein was engineered by MedImmune. The research team of this study worked towards attaching it to the C’ dot surface to keep the overall conjugate below 8 nanometers in diameter.
Both, in vitro and in vivo (mouse) targeting of HER2-positive breast cancer cells were found to be successful. Bradbury said, “These research findings are very exciting, as they suggest we could specifically deliver a variety of small molecule therapies — chemotherapy, inhibitors and radiotherapy — without the toxicity typically found using larger particle probes.”
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