The Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY researchers have recently published their white paper that aims to associate the communication trait between slow development of cancer cells. This pathway is expected to pave the way for developing potentially drug-free cancer therapies. The research team was able to design nanoparticles that are required for the activation of self-assembly measures when they will encounter cancer cells and send messages for instructing cells to slow their intended growth. However, the nanoparticles communicate with the cancer cells, and the surrounding cells aren’t impacted at all.
Cancer cells take up materials from their environment and they secrete factors that can help them degrade the surrounding tissues in order to spread and further metastasize. The team explored particles that respond to characteristics by further accelerating into clusters that are actively taken up by the formation of cancer cells. However, once inside, these cells appear to reduce the size and amount of the cancer’s metabolic activity and further subsequent their growth. One of the reasons the progression of cancer is often difficult to regulate is that the cells often secrete an abnormally large amount of the matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) enzyme which further can be used to accelerate clustering in the cell’s environment.
The team noted that these cells surround these aggregates and their particular size can cause physical distress in the cancer cells thereby reducing their ability to proliferate and then survive. The current highlight of the study is that the research team was able to use confocal reflection microscopy for visualizing the nanoparticle aggregates that are formed inside the cancer cells in a real-time environment. This method of live-imaging technique has allowed to have a closer look into how certain cancer cells respond to the particles at an sub-atomic cellular level.