Developing the Use of Nanoparticles as a Novel Mechanism for Advancing Chemotherapy of Ovarian Cancer
Alessandro D. Santin, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Co-Funded by the Yale Cancer Center and Women's Health Research at Yale
Because ovarian cancer almost always is followed by a recurrence which is resistant to current interventions, women with ovarian cancer suffer the highest mortality rate among patients with gynecological cancers. With this reality in mind, Dr. Santin (who has studied the molecular underpinnings of ovarian tumors) and his collaborator, Dr. Mark Saltzman, Professor of Bioengineering (who is creating new uses for nanoparticles in the delivery of health care treatments) are seeking to develop a new, effective strategy to treat ovarian cancer and improve survival rates.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. Santin is collaborating with Dr. Saltzman to develop specially-formulated nanoparticles, ultra-tiny particles, which can be fabricated as “homing devices” to preferentially target and bind to ovarian cancer cells, and deliver a potent chemotherapy agent as cargo inside the nanoparticle. Thus far, the team has been able to accomplish their first two aims. First, they have synthesized novel biodegradable polymers to create nanoparticles for this purpose. Second, by adding fluorescence as a marker to observe binding, they have shown that these nanoparticles can find and selectively bind with the target cells in cell lines donated by volunteer patients. The next step of the research, now under way, is to demonstrate that these nanoparticles can target ovarian cancer cells and deliver chemotherapy in animal models. The ultimate goal is to develop a nanotechnology-based treatment to be tested in clinical trials.