Skip to content
Surprising Science

Nanoparticles Deliver Cancer Drugs inside Tumors

A clinical trial currently underway has shown a promising ability to use nanoparticles to target specific tumor cells, directly delivering chemotherapy drugs while avoiding the body’s immune system. 

What’s the Latest Development?

In a clinical trial currently underway, scientists have shown they can manipulate nano-sized particles to deliver cancer drugs directly to tumor cells, often reducing the size of the patient’s tumor. Performed at BIND Biosciences, “researchers coated the nanoparticles with targeting molecules that recognize a protein called PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen), found abundantly on the surface of most prostate tumor cells as well as many other types of tumors.” The nanoparticles delivered the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Engineering the nanoparticles to evade the body’s normal immune response and reaching their intended targets was not easy, say the researchers. “The BIND-014 nanoparticles have three components: one that carries the drug, one that targets PSMA, and one that helps evade macrophages and other immune-system cells.” Just 48 hours after treatment, the amount of docetaxel in patients’ blood was 100 times that of patients who received chemotherapy in the traditionally indiscriminate way. BIND Biosciences is currently planning the trial’s second phase, which will test the treatment on a larger number of patients. 

Photo credit:


Up Next