Friday, May 24, 2013

Scientists Uncover How Grapefruits Provide a Secret Weapon in Medical Drug Delivery...

Lipids (right panel first three tubes) derived from grapefruit. GNVs can efficiently deliver a variety of therapeutic agents, including DNA, RNA (DIR-GNVs), proteins and anti-cancer drugs (GNVs-Drugs) as demonstrated in this study. University of Louisville researchers have uncovered how to create nanoparticles using natural lipids derived from grapefruit, and have discovered how to use them as drug delivery vehicles.

"These nanoparticles, which we've named grapefruit-derived nanovectors (GNVs), are derived from an edible plant, and we believe they are less toxic for patients, result in less biohazardous waste for the environment, and are much cheaper to produce at large scale than nanoparticles made from synthetic materials," Zhang said.

The researchers demonstrated that GNVs can transport various therapeutic agents, including anti-cancer drugs, DNA/RNA and proteins such as antibodies. Treatment of animals with GNVs seemed to cause less adverse effects than treatment with drugs encapsulated in synthetic lipids.

"Our GNVs can be modified to target specific cells -- we can use them like missiles to carry a variety of therapeutic agents for the purpose of destroying diseased cells," he said. "Furthermore, we can do this at an affordable price."

The therapeutic potential of grapefruit derived nanoparticles was further validated through a Phase 1 clinical trial for treatment of colon cancer patients. So far, researchers have observed no toxicity in the patients who orally took the anti-inflammatory agent curcumin encapsulated in grapefruit nanoparticles.

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