New therapy with photosensitizers to fight cancer


Researchers at the Rey Juan Carlos University (Spain) and PSL University in Paris (France) have developed a new photosensitizer with silica and ruthenium nanoparticles. This type of drug is activated by light when it is inside the cancer cells and favors its elimination, a less aggressive photodynamic therapy for the patient.

The use of metal based drugs, metal compounds with chemotherapeutic properties in cancer treatments, is of great interest to patients with different types of tumors. It is estimated that about 60% of all cancer patients have been treated with metal compounds, especially platinum, at least once during the course of the disease.

However, these metal compounds present several problems in their therapeutic use, due to their high number of side effects and the possibility of the tumor becoming resistant. In addition, they present problems of solubility in biological media and limitations as to the doses that can be administered in certain patients with problems in the immune system derived from the advancement of the tumor.

The development of new drug nanoformulations for use in different less aggressive therapies, such as photodynamics, is one of the lines of research in which the COMET-NANO group of the Rey Juan Carlos University works. "These therapies are based on drugs called photosensitizers that, after exposure to a specific type of light with specific characteristics, produce a special form of oxygen capable of acting against the cancerous cells that lead to death," explains Santiago Gómez-Ruiz. , researcher of the COMET-NANO group.

Photosensitizers are therefore used for photodynamic therapy. When the cancer cells absorb them and are exposed to light, the drug is activated and destroys the cancer cells.

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The study addressed the formulation of mesoporous silica nanoparticles less than 80 nanometers in size with a ruthenium derivative. (Photo: URJC)

The team's latest work in this area has addressed the formulation in mesoporous silica nanoparticles of size less than 80 nanometers along with a ruthenium (Ru, metal with low toxicity) derivative that has photodynamic activity under UV-A light. "Our goal is to study the possibilities of these ruthenium nanomaterials systems and the like in the photodynamic treatment of different tumors," says Gómez-Ruiz.

This work is the result of the collaboration with Professor Gilles Gasser (ERC Consolidator) of Chimie ParisTech of PSL Université Paris (France) and researchers from the University of Zurich (Switzerland). It was published in the journal Dalton Transactions, and is pending publication in the special volume on "Bioinspirated Reactivity of Coordination Compounds".

Currently there is only one formulation of a ruthenium compound being studied in clinical trials, the TLD-1433, prepared by the Mc Farland research group (UNC Greensboro, USA). Researchers at URJC and PSL Université Paris have shown that the nanoformulation of ruthenium studied metalofedrine improves the results of cell death in cancer cells after the application of light, opening the way to future clinical studies of this type of therapeutic compounds.

As Santiago Gómez-Ruiz puts it: "In this sense, our work will focus on drugs that can be activated by a light that is less energetic and more benign for the patient than UV-A, such as red or infrared light, which would make them excellent candidates for a direct application in certain tumors of therapeutic interest at the moment ". (Source: SINC)


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