Fighting Brain Tumors with Nanoparticles

Brain tumors are one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Its location makes localized therapy (such as surgery or radiation therapy) tricky; treating too conservatively risks leaving cancer cells behind that can grow into a new tumor, while treating too aggressively can damage nearby brain tissue, potentially impacting mental functions. Additionally, the blood-brain barrier blocks many cancer-fighting drugs’ passage from the bloodstream to the tumor site.
 
However, City of Hope researchers Behnam Badie, M.D., director of the Brain Tumor Program and Jacob Berlin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine, may have found a way to overcome these treatment obstacles by using nanoparticles called CNT-CpG to stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack the tumor.

CpG are small snippets of DNA that can stimulate an immune response, activating immune cells’ ability to attack and destroy nearby cells.

CNTs are ultra small carbon-based, tube-shaped nanoparticles measured in nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter.

CNT-CpG will be injected into brain tumor sites and then trigger an immune reaction in the immediate area, destroying tumor cells with minimal impact on surrounding healthy tissues.

Dr. Badie and Dr. Berlin are looking to initiate an in-human trial as soon as possible.

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