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MP: Treatment of lung cancer with nanoparticles

Alternative title: Behandling av lungekreft med nanopartikler

Awarded: NOK 0.50 mill.

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Project Period:

2020 - 2021

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Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. It is ranked as the cancer with the highest unmet medical need, and the 5-year survival is only 18%. With such a poor prognosis, the need for new drugs and treatment regimens that are specifically designed for lung targeting is high. Cancer treatment with unspecific chemotherapies is often limited by inadequate delivery to the target and severe systemic side-effects. Through several years of research SINTEF has developed numerous technologies for diagnosis and therapy of cancer, using nanoparticle-based delivery systems. One of the technologies that stands out as having great potential is µBlung; a nanoparticle-based technology specially designed for lung targeting. The product has been tailored for delivery of high local concentrations of drugs to lung tumours and is especially relevant for tumours that are not effectively treated using existing chemotherapeutics. The nanoparticles will release the drug over a prolonged period of time as they degrade. Fluorescence imaging and mass spectrometry demonstrated that µBlung could significantly increase the accumulation of nanoparticles with drug in the lungs compared to injecting either the free drug by itself or the nanoparticles alone. Approximately 28% of the dose was delivered to the lungs. Furthermore, the effect of µBlung was verified in a preclinical mouse model with lung cancer, where the technology was found to significantly reduce tumor growth in the animals.

Through the milestone project we have achieved a better understanding of the effects of µBlung, its accumulation in the lungs and therapeutic effect in a relevant disease model. This will be beneficial for future work with the technology, and also for other projects were cancer or other diseases in the lungs are targeted. The enhanced accumulation and therapeutic effect suggests that it is possible to both enhance efficacy and reduce toxicity when treating lung cancer, which could improve both survival and quality of life for the patients in the future.

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