For effective treatment of a brain tumour anticancer drugs must gain access to tumour cells, however many tumours have a poorly formed blood vascular system with poor rates of blood flow. This blood–brain–tumour barrier can block drugs that could be very effective for treating tumours.
Nanoparticles provide a mode of cancer drug delivery by acting as carriers, facilitating the entry of the cancer drug through windows in tumour vasculature, allowing direct tumour cell access (Bannerjee, D., Harfouche, R. and Sengupta,S., 2011; Haley, B. and Frenkel, E., 2008).
Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has also shown promise to bypass this barrier through the delivery of drugs through one to several catheters placed stereotactically (a method in neurosurgery and neurological research for locating points within the brain using an external, three-dimensional frame of reference) directly within the tumour mass or around the tumour (Debinsky, W., 2009).
The recent King et al. study with rats (2017) found that combining CED with nanoparticles to get drugs past the blood-brain barrier allows sustained drug release and minimal toxicity thus increasing drug efficiency. This supports nanotechnology as an exciting platform in the field of anticancer research which promises to improve the pharmacology of current cancer therapeutics.
Banerjee, D., Harfouche, R. and Sengupta, S. (2011), Nanotechnology-mediated targeting of tumor angiogenesis, Vascular Cell, 2011, 3:3, Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21349160 [Accessed 03.08.17]
Debinski, W. and Tatter, S.B. (2009), Convection-enhanced delivery for the treatment of brain tumors, Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2009 Oct;9(10):1519-27. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19831841 [Accessed 03.08.17]
Haley, B., Frenkel, E. (2008), Nanoparticles for drug delivery in cancer treatment, Urologic Oncology, 2008 Jan-Feb;26(1):57-64. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18190833 [Accessed 03.08.17]
King, A. et al. (2017), Local DNA repair inhibition for sustained radiosensitization in high grade gliomas, Molecular Cancer Therapy, May 31 2017 Available at http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2017/05/31/1535-7163.MCT-16-0788 [Accessed 03.08.17]
Meyers et al. (2013), Nanoparticles for imaging and treating brain cancer, Nanomedicine (Lond), 2013 Jan; 8(1): 123-143. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23256496 [Accessed 03.08.17]