GPS Nanoparticle Platform Precisely Delivers Therapeutic Payload to Cancer Cells

Equipped with novel homing abilities, the platform activates in cancer environments to release gene-editing tools.

On the left is an electron microscopic image of the nanoparticles designed by the team led by Penn State researchers. On the right, the nanoparticles, shown as black dots, find the basal-like breast cancer cells in yellow and deliver the gene-editing tools. The disintegrating cell demonstrates the destructive power of the therapy delivered by the nanoparticle. (Credit: Dipanjan Pan/Penn State).

A newly developed “GPS nanoparticle” injected intravenously can home in on cancer cells to deliver a genetic punch to a protein implicated in tumor growth and spread, according to researchers from Penn State. They tested their approach in human cell lines and in mice to effectively knock down a cancer-causing gene, reporting that the technique may potentially offer a more precise and effective treatment for notoriously hard-to-treat basal-like breast cancers. The scientists published their work on March 11, 2024 in ACS Nano. They also filed a provisional application to patent the technology described in this study. The article is titled “Context-Responsive Nanoparticle Derived from Synthetic Zwitterionic Ionizable Phospholipids in Targeted CRISPR/Cas9 Therapy for Basal-Like Breast Cancer.”

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