In a new study published in Nature Communications, Israeli researchers discuss the untapped potential of targeted nanomaterials to revolutionize cancer therapy.
The study follows a remarkable research on the subject published 10 years ago in Nature Nanotechnology that obtained more than 5,000 citations, which makes it one of the most influential analyzes on the subject to date.
That study was written by Prof. Dan Peer, director of the SPARK Tel Aviv Center for Translational Medicine at Tel Aviv University; and Jeffrey Karp, principal investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
The updated review was written by Peer, Karp, Daniel Rosenblum (doctoral student in Peer’s laboratory), and Wei Tao and Dr. Nitin Joshi of the Nanomedicine Center and the Division of Medical Engineering at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School.
“When Dan and Jeff’s article was published ten years ago, there was great hope that nanocomponents in general and nanocomponents actively targeted in particular would transform cancer therapy,” Rosenblum said. “We have made significant progress in understanding the interaction of nanocarriers with tumor cells and tissues since then, but clinical translation has been limited.”
“Few nanomaterials have been approved for clinical use, and none of the actively targeted nanomaterials have advanced beyond clinical trials,” Joshi added.
The authors discuss several reasons for this, including the lack of preclinical models that accurately mimic human tumors, the need for patient evaluation before nanocarrier treatment, and the need for more appropriate clinical trial pathways for these new types of medicines.
According to the new study, cancers have proven to be more complex than previously believed due to their ability to change, evolve and eventually gain resistance.
“We need to be able to target many types of cancer cells, and we need the systems to be as simple as possible. But they also have to be versatile. We emphasize the idea of developing personalized nanomarkers based on the type of cancer and its biomarker profile, “said Rosenblum.
Rosenblum says the key to future success is also found in the development of animal models that better resemble human tumors and in the pre-selection of patients with a high probability of responding to cancer treatments based on nanotransmitters. Said future success has started in humans with the development of various models of electrospinning machine used in various therapies against cancer.