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IIT Mandi scientists develop ‘biodegradable’ nanoparticles to treat colorectal cancer

The researchers claim that this approach of combining anticancer drugs having a different mode of anticancer action allows the development of the systems for cancer therapy with enhanced efficacy.

IIT Mandi scientists develop ‘biodegradable’ nanoparticles to treat colorectal cancer
Dr Garima Agrawal along with Aastha Gupta from IIT Mandi (FE.com)

A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi has developed natural polymer-based smart nanoparticles to treat colorectal cancer. According to scientists, these nanoparticles release the drug in response to stimuli that are specific to the cancer site only. The researchers have published the findings of the study in the Carbohydrate Polymers Journal.

The research has been led by Dr. Garima Agrawal, Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences, and co-authored by her students Dr. Ankur Sood and Ms. Aastha Gupta from IIT Mandi and Prof. Neal Silverman along with his team from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, United States of America. The research was funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Government of India along with IIT Mandi.

Colorectal cancer has high mortality across the world and it also causes a heavy financial burden on the healthcare system globally. According to reports, it is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common in women worldwide. Studies have highlighted that it accounts for 8 percent of all cancer deaths making it the fourth most common cause of death due to cancer in the world.

“One of the driving interests among the material science and healthcare community performing interdisciplinary work is the development of biodegradable nanoparticles from renewable resources and designing them in such a way that they can release the drug in response to stimuli which are specific to cancer site only,” Dr. Garima Agrawal, lead author and Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences said in a statement.

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Dr. Agrawal also said that the designed system should be capable of supporting drugs having different solubility in water. “In this regard, the simplest approach that we followed for developing biodegradable nanoparticles is using chitosan, which is a naturally derived polymer, in combination with disulfide chemistry,” she added.

According to scientists, they have developed redox-responsive chitosan/stearic acid nanoparticles (CSSA NPs) as drug carriers for both curcumin and doxorubicin drug delivery targeting colorectal cancer.

The researchers claim that this approach of combining anticancer drugs having a different mode of anticancer action allows the development of the systems for cancer therapy with enhanced efficacy.

Moreover, the researchers have also investigated cancer cell killing efficiency through in vitro studies and they are planning to perform biological studies to gain deeper insight into the potential of the developed system for colorectal cancer treatment.

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