The first nano drug for selectively fighting metastatic cells

Scientists from the IQAC-CSIC have participated in the development and essay of a molecule for fighting colon cancer metastasis. It is the first drug worldwide that blocks metastasis dissemination, which is the main cause of mortality of oncological patients. Also, the study demonstrates that the drug is less toxic and therefore reduces the adverse effects derived from conventional treatments.

Disappearance of metastatic cells that have CXCR4. Metastatic cells that have the CXCR4 receptor are stained brown. After treatment, the brown color has disappeared, which means  there are no metastatic cells with the CXCR4 receptor(Image: IIB-Hospital de Sant Pau)The nano drug has been tested in animal models. The research has been led by Dr. Ramon Mangues, from the IIB Hospital de Sant Pau, and Antonio Villaverde and Esther Vazquez, from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB). The CSIC’s group, from the Institut de Química Avançada de Catalunya (IQAC-CSIC), has been led by Ramon Eritja. All of them are members of the CIBER-BBN laboratory.

The results, published in the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal show that the drug  selectively depletes metastatic stem cells in animal models of colorectal cancer. The study that demonstrates the effectiveness of the drug has taken longer than six years.

CXCR4, the entrance door 

The new molecule is composed by a protein nanoparticle and a floxuridine oligomer, and it has a high affinity towards the CXCR4 receptors, which are over expressed in the metastatic stem cells, explains Ramon Eritja.

The development of the nanoparticle that recognizes the CXCR4 receptor overexpressed in metastatic cells was identified by the team of Antonio Villaverde and Esther Vazquez. They found out that it could be used to enter the cells. The team led by Ramon Eritja designed the antiproliferative cytotoxic with the capacity to efficiently joint to the nanoparticle.

It only activates inside metastatic cells

The particularity of the nanodrug, as Ramon Eritja explains, is that the antiproliferative cytotoxic is packed in the nanoparticle and it activates only after entering metastatic cells. This makes possible to attack only these cells, therefore stopping their dissemination the progress of the disease.

The team led by Ramon Eritja, in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Nanotechnology of the IQAC-CSIC have expertise in the synthesis of DNA and RNA derivatives for obtaining new active molecules.

Reference article:
María Virtudes Céspedes, Ugutz Unzueta, Anna Aviñó, Alberto Gallardo, Patricia Álamo, Rita Sala, Alejandro Sánchez‐Chardi, Isolda Casanova, María Antònia Mangues, Antonio Lopez‐Pousa, Ramón Eritja, Antonio Villaverde, Esther Vázquez, Ramón Mangues. Selective depletion of metastatic stem cells as therapy for human colorectal cáncer. EMBO Molecular Medicine. DOI: 10.15252/emmm.201708772

 

The first drug for selectively fighting metastatic cells

 

Scientists from the IQAC-CSIC have participated in the development and essay of a molecule for fighting colon cancer metastasis. It is the first drug worldwide that blocks metastasis dissemination, which is the main cause of mortality of oncological patients. Also, the study demonstrates that the drug is less toxic and therefore reduces the adverse effects derived from conventional treatments.

 

The nano drug has been tested in animal models. The research has been led by Dr. Ramon Mangues, from the IIB Hospital de Sant Pau, and Antonio Villaverde and Esther Vazquez, from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB). The CSIC’s group, from the Institut de Química Avançada de Catalunya (IQAC-CSIC), has been led by Ramon Eritja. All of them are members of the CIBER-BBN laboratory.

 

The results, published in the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal show that the drug  selectively depletes metastatic stem cells in animal models of colorectal cancer. The study that demonstrates the effectiveness of the drug has taken longer than six years.

 

CXCR4, the entrance door 

 

The new molecule is composed by a protein nanoparticle and a floxuridine oligomer, and it has a high affinity towards the CXCR4 receptors, which are over expressed in the metastatic stem cells, explains Ramon Eritja.

 

The development of the nanoparticle that recognizes the CXCR4 receptor overexpressed in metastatic cells was identified by the team of Antonio Villaverde and Esther Vazquez. They found out that it could be used to enter the cells. The team led by Ramon Eritja designed the antiproliferative cytotoxic with the capacity to efficiently joint to the nanoparticle.    

 

The drug it only activates inside the metastatic  cell

 

The particularity of the nanodrug, as Ramon Eritja explains, is that the antiproliferative cytotoxic is packed in the nanoparticle and it activates only after entering metastatic cells. This makes possible to attack only these cells, therefore stopping their dissemination the progress of the disease.

 

The team led by Ramon Eritja, in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Nanotechnology of the IQAC-CSIC have expertise in the synthesis of DNA and RNA derivatives for obtaining new active molecules.

 

Disappearance of metastatic cells that have CXCR4. Metastatic cells that have the CXCR4 receptor are stained brown. After treatment, the brown color has disappeared, which means  there are no metastatic cells with the CXCR4 receptor.
(Image: IIB-Hospital de Sant Pau)