Synergistic Enhancement of Cancer Therapy Using a Combination of Carbon Nanotubes and Antitumor Drugs

Technology Overview

This technology uses nanoparticles to enhance the killing of tumor cells by chemotherapeutic drugs that are apoptotic agents. Apoptotic agents are chemicals that affect apoptosis. Apoptosis is a normal cell process in humans and other multi-cellular organisms that is a natural programmed cell death. It is a means for the body to stop certain types of cells from growing at specific stages of development and to provide for cellular renewal as appropriate for specific cells.

In recent years, it has become clear that defective apoptosis (programmed cell death) represents a major causative factor in the development and progression of cancer. The ability of tumor cells to evade engagement of apoptosis can play a significant role in their resistance to conventional therapeutic regimens. Many drugs in use today indirectly influence apoptosis and many other drugs are being developed that specifically target apoptotic mechanisms.

This technology uses nanoparticles of various types to enhance cell killing by the apoptotic agent etoposide. Epotoside is known to cause breaks in cellular DNA and is used with other agents in chemotherapy for various cancers including Ewing’s sarcoma, lung cancer, testicular cancer and other types. Preliminary experiments using in vitro cell line models, as described in the technology disclosure, demonstrate increased apoptotic activity with this approach.

Potential Benefits

  • Improved treatment effectiveness – Enhances the killing of tumor cells by apoptotic agents
  • Potential expanded applications – May facilitate targeting of new types of solid tumors

Potential Applications

  • Many different types of cancer
  • CNS disorders (especially neurodegenerative diseases)
  • Chronic inflammation/autoimmunity (in particular rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Cirrhosis

Keywords: apoptosis, cancer, carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, etoposide

Inventors: Alexandru S. Biris, Meena Mahmood