Targeted Treatment of Prostate Cancer with Microparticles Show Promise

The use of microparticles and mesenchymal stem cells has shown potential to treat prostate cancer.

There is an unmet need for targeted prostate cancer treatments with minimal systemic toxicity. Targeted treatments for prostate cancer tumors are difficult to treat due to their mixed cell population.

A recent study published in Biomaterials found proof-of-concept evidence for a possible prostate cancer treatment that uses microparticles and mesenchymal stem cells.

"In cancer therapeutics, one of the great challenges is finding how to specifically deliver high doses of chemotherapeutics to a tumor, but minimize the systemic toxicity," said study senior author Jeffrey Karp, PhD.

Investigators found a way to internalize chemotherapy-loaded microparticles into cells. Researchers were able to target and kill prostate cancer cells with the use of a prodrug that is active by prostate cells.

"Mesenchymal stem cells represent a potential vehicle that can be engineered to seek out tumors," said Oren Levy, PhD, co-author of the study. "Loading those cells with a potent chemotherapeutic drug is a promising cell-based Trojan horse approach to deliver drugs to sites of cancer."

The researchers state that the cell-based drug delivery platform is able to kill cancer cells through a “bystander effect.”

"The prodrug only becomes toxic in the presence of the tumor microenvironment, which adds another layer of specificity to this targeted delivery system," said John Isaacs, PhD, the JHU senior author.

Researchers believe that this particle-in-a-cell platform method could be used for different diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, the study concluded.