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Researchers apply fat cells to deliver drug to suppress tumour growth

Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a new drug delivery pathway that may help stop tumour growth and keep cancer from coming back in mice.

In the preclinical study, the team found that they could reengineer adipocytes - fat cells that feed fatty acids energy needed to promote tumour growth and metastasis - to reverse their malignant role on tumour development and deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to the tumour microenvironment.

The study is published in the journal Matter.

The course of treatment for many people with a solid tumour includes surgery with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy.

Well there have been many improvements in treatment techniques over the past decade, the cancer often comes back after therapy and can be even more aggressive.

In order to stop the cancer from recurring, drugs need to be delivered directly to the diseased site.

Since fat cells are widely present in the human body and can be easily isolated and purified, the UCLA-led team thought they might be able to serve as a highly efficient drug delivery system.

However, tumour cells trigger the fat cells to release the fatty acid to support tumour growth.

To overcome this problem, researchers added anticancer therapeutics to fat cells to make them work as a Trojan horse once delivered into the tumour site.

The team tested the new drug delivery system by using UCLA-engineered fat cells to carry lipid-linked doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat cancer, and found the drug was able to successfully load into the lipid droplets consisting of an anticancer fatty acid within the fat cells.

Linking the fat-soluble lipid molecule to doxorubicin can help reduce toxicity of the drug toward fat cells and enhance drug loading capability inside the fat cells.

Once injected such fat cells into the tumour site or surgical site with residual tumour tissues, the encapsulated anticancer doxorubicin and fatty acid can be gradually released toward the tumour cells through lipid metabolism, subsequently inhibiting tumour growth and recurrence.

Inside tumour cells, the lipid linked to doxorubicin can be effectively cleaved to show the killing effect of doxorubicin.

By utilising fat cells with a therapeutic capsule, the team was able to demonstrate that the lipid metabolism pathway can be utilised for tumour specific drug delivery and drug development.

This research also indicated that tumour supportive cells within the tumour tissue could serve as Trojan horse for cancer therapy.

The approach could not only be useful for delivering cancer drugs to tumours, but could potentially be applied to other lipid metabolism related diseases.

Source: University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

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