CHOP Using Ultra-Small, Specially Formulated Nanoparticles to Target Neuroblastomas with High-Payload Drug Delivery; Animal Model Success Suggests Clinical Trials May Start within Next Year

Delving into the world of the extremely small, researchers are exploring how biodegradable nanoparticles can precisely deliver anticancer drugs to attack neuroblastoma, an often-deadly children's cancer. By bringing together experts in pediatric oncology with experts in nanotechnology, researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) aim to thread the needle of delivering effective doses of cancer-killing agents while avoiding toxicity in healthy tissues. The team's new research shows that this approach inhibits tumor growth and markedly prolongs survival in animal models. "These nanoparticles allow us to get more 'bang for the buck'--greater efficacy at lower total doses," said Garrett M. Brodeur, M.D., a pediatric oncologist and expert in neuroblastoma at CHOP. "The nanoparticles are designed to slowly deliver a drug to the tumor, where it kills multiplying cancer cells, with lower toxicity to the systemic circulation." Dr. Brodeur's group collaborated with a group of CHOP nanotechnology researchers led by Michael Chorny, Ph.D., in a study to be published in print May 1, 2015 in Cancer Letters. The Cancer Letters article was published online on February 12, 2015, and is titled “Nanoparticle Delivery of an SN38 Conjugate Is More Effective Than Irinotecan in a Mouse Model of Neuroblastoma." Dr. Chorny, in turn, led a study to be published in the May print issue of Biomaterials, in collaboration with Brodeur's group and with Robert Levy, M.D., and Ivan Alferiev, Ph.D., both members with Dr. Chorny of a cardiology research group at CHOP. That paper, which described how the team engineered the specially formulated nanoparticles, was published online on February 16, 2015, and is titled “"Nanoparticle-Mediated Delivery of a Rapidly Activatable Prodrug of SN-38 for Neuroblastoma Therapy." This approach, explained Dr.
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