Nanoparticle-delivered cancer therapies can be made up to six times more effective when paired with radiation, according to a new study from Massachusetts General Hospital.
The process works when nanoparticles, tiny molecules of medication, are injected near tumors being radiated, according to a press release. The radiation causes the body’s own immune cells to work with the nanoparticles to cause the blood vessels inside the tumor to leak the potentially life-saving medication right within the diseased tissue.
The study’s lead author, Miles Miller of Harvard Medical School, said the research highlights the importance of using nanomedicine to better target cancer cells, a practice that until now has seen limited success.
“Rather than focusing on the nanoparticles themselves, we used in vivo microscopy to discover how to rewire the structure of the tumor itself to more efficiently accumulate a variety of nanomedicines already in clinical use,” Miller said in the release.
The next steps will be to verify the research in full clinical trials, Miller said, which should progress quickly since the medications in question have already been authorized by the Food & Drug Administration.