Bionanotechnology as a Novel Treatment for Brain Tumors

Korpela, Claire
Glioma brain tumors account for 49% of all primary brain tumors in the US every year and greater than 60% of all gliomas diagnosed are Glioblastoma Mulitforme (GBM). Patients with GM have an average survival time of 15 months after diagnosis with treatment. After recurrence, the survival period is only three to five months. The current treatment method for GM patients is to use a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy delivered to the tumor removal site via Gliadel wafers. However, Giladel wafers with the anticancer drug BCNU only extends survival length by two months and increased the amount of survivors at six months after diagnosis by 50% and this drug delivery method is not selectively toxic to cancer cells. Nanotechnology can be used to develop new chemotherapeutic delivery methods to better treat GM patients. Researchers have studied the underlying principles of peptide nanotube self-assembly to determine possible applications of peptide nanotubes in clinical applications such as tissue remodeling and drug delivery. The iRGD peptide has been shown to home to cell surface receptors on tumor cells and cause increased cell vascularization and permeability. The concepts of peptide nanotube self-assembly and the effects of the iRGD peptides have been combined to create a delivery method that can specifically target to brain tumor cells and penetrate the cells to deposit chemotherapeutic drugs directly into the tumor cells of GM patients for a highly specific, concentrated delivery of chemotherapeutics.
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