Saturday March 28, 2020

Nanoparticles May Spur Spread of Cancer

Nanomedicines, used for cancer treatments may also promote the spread of cancer, say researchers

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nanoparticles
Nanoparticles may accelerate the spread of cancer

Nanomedicines, considered as providing an efficient way to transcend the limits of standard cancer treatments, could also have unintended and harmful side effects like accelerating cancer spread, say researchers.

The findings caution against possible side effects of cancer nanomedicines, which are designed to kill cancer cells, and other common nanoparticles but paves the way for safer design and better treatment strategies.

Using breast cancer as a model, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) discovered that common nanoparticles made from gold, titanium dioxide, silver and silicon dioxide — and also used in nanomedicines — widen the gap between blood vessel cells, making it easier for other cells, such as cancer cells, to go in and out of “leaky” blood vessels.

The phenomenon, named ‘nanomaterials induced endothelial leakiness’ (NanoEL), accelerates the movement of cancer cells from the primary tumour and also causes circulating cancer cells to escape from blood circulation.

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This results in faster establishment of a bigger secondary tumour site and initiates new secondary sites previously not accessible to cancer cells, the team explained.

“For a cancer patient, the direct implication of our findings is that long term, pre-existing exposure to nanoparticles — for instance, through everyday products or environmental pollutants — may accelerate cancer progression, even when nanomedicine is not administered,” said David Leong, Associate Professor at NUS.

“The interactions between these tiny nanomaterials and the biological systems in the body need to be taken into consideration during the design and development of cancer nanomedicine.

“It is crucial to ensure that the nanomaterial delivering the anti-cancer drug does not also unintentionally accelerate tumour progression. As new breakthroughs in nanomedicine unfold, we need to concurrently understand what causes these nanomaterials to trigger unexpected outcomes,” he noted in the study, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Lab Technician
Diagnosis lab.

The NUS researchers are harnessing the NanoEL effect to design more effective therapies.

For example, nanoparticles that induce NanoEL can potentially be used to increase blood vessel leakiness, and in turn promote the access of drugs or repairing stem cells to diseased tissues that may not be originally accessible to therapy. (IANS)

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Risk of Liver Cancer is High Among Older Adults: Study

Liver cancer caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or buildup of fat in the liver, increased by the greatest magnitude in most regions, the researchers said

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Liver cancer caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or buildup of fat in the liver, increased by the greatest magnitude in most regions, said the researchers. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed rising rates of liver cancer in older adults, especially in men, despite advances aimed at preventing the disease.

Liver cancer caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or buildup of fat in the liver, increased by the greatest magnitude in most regions, said the researchers.

“The findings suggest the lack of attention for older people in current liver cancer prevention efforts and highlight the emerging concern of obesity as a risk factor for liver cancer,” said study lead author Xingdong Chen from Fudan University in China.

To obtain trends and estimates of liver cancer by age, sex, region, and cause, the research team examined 1990-2017 data from the Global Burden of Disease Study pertaining to 195 countries and territories. According to the study, published in the journal ‘Cancer’ liver cancer cases diagnosed before the age of 30 years globally decreased from 17,381 in 1990 to 14,661 in 2017.

But they increased in people aged 30-59 years and 60 years and older from 216,561 and 241,189 in 1990 to 359,770 and 578,344 in 2017, respectively. When applying age adjustments, the research team found that the incidences of liver cancer diagnosed before age 30 years and from 30-59 years decreased in both sexes, whereas in older adults, rates increased in males and remained stable in females.

Cancer
Researchers have revealed rising rates of liver cancer in older adults, especially in men, despite advances aimed at preventing the disease. Pixabay

Compared with women, men had a more dramatic increase in liver cancer diagnosed at aged 60 years and older and a milder decrease in cases diagnosed at 30-59 years. According to the study, decreases seen in younger adults were largely ascribed to hepatitis B vaccinations (since the hepatitis B virus can cause liver cancer) and were consistent in most regions except in developed countries, in which liver cancer rates increased irrespective of sex and age.

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Liver cancer caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or buildup of fat in the liver, increased by the greatest magnitude in most regions, the researchers said. “Liver cancer prevention strategies in both developing and developed countries should be tailored and updated,” said Chen. (IANS)