SIR: Image-guided nanoembolization - therapy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

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A novel pancreas-directed local approach, using image-guided nanoembolization, increases intra-tumoral uptake of therapeutic gold nanoparticles over systemic IV administration in a rabbit model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), according to a presentation at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 35th annual scientific meeting in Tampa, Fla this week.

Gold nanoparticles can be surface functionalized with anti-sense oligonucleotides to target molecular mechanisms of PDAC, said Reed A. Omary, MD, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering and vice chair of research in the radiology department at  Northwestern University in Chicago.

Omary and colleagues tested the hypothesis that nanoembolization (transcatheter intra-arterial [IA] delivery of nanoparticles) using therapeutic gold nanoparticles increases intra-tumoral uptake of gold nanoparticles over systemic IV injection in a rabbit model of PDAC.

Gold nanoparticles were prepared by citrate reduction of AuCl3. The researchers found that rabbits with pancreatic tumors IA delivery had increased gold nanoparticles uptake(42 fold) in the tumor periphery, in the tumor core (89 fold) and in the tumor overall (55 fold) compared to IV. In healthy pancreas, IA delivery increased gold nanoparticle concentration 17 fold.

“A major reason that current pancreatic cancer treatments do not work is that scar tissue develops around the cancer. This scar tissue blocks cancer-killing drugs from entering the tumor in the first place," said Omary. "We used a catheter to deliver cancer-killing nanoparticles directly to the tumor. The catheter is placed into an artery near the groin and navigated through blood vessels to the site of the tumor, all without surgery. Once in the blood vessel that supplies the tumor, the catheter can deliver nanoparticles directly into the tumor."

"This method may offer a better way to overcome the scar tissue that blocks drugs from attacking the tumor," he said. With this type of catheter delivery, more drug "can go directly where we want it--to the tumor itself. This is not the case with injections through a vein, where the cancer-killing drug may not end up where it needs to be."

"Nanoembolization is a terrific example of bringing together a diverse range of experts—in interventional radiology, chemistry and oncology—to develop a radically different method to treat the cancer with the most dismal survival rate," Omary added.