Tumour Nanoparticle Uptake in 3-D Cell Culture

New brain tumour treatment possibilities from the University of Nottingham. The nanoparticle drug delivery system, specifically created for brain tumour therapy, has shown promising tumour cell selectivity in a novel cell culture model, according to a paper in the September issue of the Experimental Biology and Medicine

Therapy for brain cancers is especially complicated for many reasons, such as getting enough of the drug to the tumour, and achieving sufficient selectivity of the drug action.

A nanoparticle (or nanopowder) is a microscopic particle with at least one dimension less than 100 nm. Nanoparticle research is currently an area of intense scientific research, due to a wide variety of potential applications in biomedical, optical, and electronic fields.

Dr Martin Garnett, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham School of Pharmacy said:

“We are working on a number of new therapeutic approaches using nanoparticle drug delivery systems. However, understanding and developing these systems requires suitable models for their evaluation. The nanoparticles used in this study were prepared from a novel biodegradable polymer poly (glycerol adipate). The polymer has been further modified to enhance incorporation of drugs and make the nanoparticles more effective.”

As Dr Terence Parker, Associate Professor, describes,

“The interaction of tumour cells with brain cells varies between different tumours and different locations within the brain. Using 3-dimensional culture models is therefore important in ensuring that the behaviour of cells in culture is similar to that seen in real life.”

Cancer Cell Culture Modeling

Tumour cell aggregates as cell culture models of cancer cells have been used for many years. Likewise, thin brain slices from newborn rats cultured for weeks, are an important tool in brain biology. In the new cell co-culture model, these two techniques have been combined for the first time.

Tagged with fluorescent iron microparticles, brain tumour cell aggregates were grown on normal newborn rat-brain tissue slices. Double cell labelling technology enabled study of tumour cell brain tissue invasion, with either fluorescence or electron microscopy from the same samples.

With these techniques the tumour aggregates were found to invade the brain slices in a similar manner to tumours in the body. Having developed the model then the tumour selective uptake of nanoparticles was demonstrated in the co-culture.

Image courtesy Wellcome Images- Creative Commons License