A new drug delivery method designed by researchers at PNNL and Washington State University (WSU) has shown it can target and kill lung cancer cells. The research, led by Chun-Long Chen, a senior research scientist at PNNL and a joint faculty fellow at the University of Washington, and research partner Yuehe Lin, a professor at the WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, appears as a cover article this month in the journal Small.
The technology features two drugs—one for chemotherapy and the other for photodynamic therapy treatment—delivered directly to cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy uses a chemical that, when exposed to light, releases reactive oxygen species that kill cancer cells. The researchers’ dual drug killed the cancer cells at lower doses than typically used in clinical settings.
“By using these peptoids, we were able to develop highly programmable nanotubes and a biocompatible delivery mechanism,” said Chen. “We also harnessed the high stability of peptoid and its well-controlled packing to develop nanotubes that are highly stable.”
While carbon nanotubes have also been used to deliver and track cancer-killing drugs, researchers have found them toxic to the body. The next step for this new nanotube technology will be preclinical animal studies.
WSU and PNNL have filed a joint patent for the technology. The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science.