NSU Scientists Produce New Method for Producing Oncology Therapy Nanoparticles

Experts at the NSU Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization patented a technology for producing nanoparticles that can later be used in cancer treatment.

A modern, gentle, and highly effective method for treating precancerous and oncological diseases is photodynamic therapy (PDT). It is based on the ability of a number of drugs, photosensitizers, to selectively accumulate and remain in the tissue of malignant tumors. Then, under the influence of laser radiation energy, they trigger photochemical reactions with the release of singlet oxygen and free radicals. This leads to the death and destruction of tumor cells without negatively affecting healthy tissues and organs.

PDT drugs are produced in the form of nanoparticles, which first accumulate in the tumor and are then activated. For tumors inside the body, this is usually done using x-rays, which are not very good for the body.

Evgeniy Galashov, a leading specialist at the NSU Center for the Treatment of Cancer, explained,

We learned to make particles that are pre-activated outside the body using ultraviolet radiation. Then, we injected this into the desired area of ​​the tumor and within six hours it would have the necessary effect on its cells.

This significantly expands the range of tumors that can be treated with PDT. To further expand the prospects for using this new technology, University scientists are now working on the synthesis of nanoparticles activated by ultrasound and a magnetic field.

Galashov continued,

The principle of the particle’s operation does not change, they still operate within the framework of methods for treating internal oncological formations. However, different methods of activation will allow us to choose the optimal strategy for individual patient’s therapy.

Nanopowders produced using the Novosibirsk developer’s technology also have a number of advantages over similar drugs produced abroad. Nanoparticles are usually obtained chemically; they have a spherical shape and their functional properties are minimal. With the help of pyrolysis, crystallization occurs, increasing their functionality and the size of the particles themselves. The technology created at NSU makes it possible to obtain crystalline nanoparticles with a size less than 20 nm, the optimal threshold for penetration into tumor cells.

Galashov added,

Thanks to the crystalline form, we can coat them with polysaccharides, which are well absorbed by cancer cells. In addition, thanks to this property, these particles can be used as delivery vehicles for other drugs.

Galashov also emphasized that the patented method for producing nanoparticles is quite inexpensive and can easily be reproduced by Russian industry. The next stage in introducing the technology into healthcare practice will be testing the nanopowders it has generated. After this, doctors may have at their disposal a whole line of medications that are effective and at the same time have a more gentle effect on the patient’s body than traditional oncology treatments.