A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often a death sentence because chemotherapy and radiation have little impact on the disease.
But research now being reported in ACS Nano could eventually lead to a new type of treatment based on gold nanoparticles.
Scientists have previously studied these tiny gold particles as a vehicle to carry chemotherapy drug molecules into tumours or as a target to enhance the impact of radiation on tumours.
In addition, Priyabrata Mukherjee and colleagues previously found that gold nanoparticles themselves could limit tumour growth and metastasis in a model of ovarian cancer in mice.
Now, the team has determined that the same holds true for mouse models of pancreatic cancer.
But interestingly, the new work revealed details about cellular communication in the area surrounding pancreatic tumours.
By interrupting this communication — which is partly responsible for this cancer’s lethal nature — the particles reduced the cell proliferation and migration that ordinarily occurs near these tumours.
Gold nanoparticles of the size used in the new study are not toxic to normal cells, the researchers note.
Source: ACS Nano
The authors describe in the abstract that “gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) inhibit proliferation and migration of both pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) by disrupting the bidirectional communication via alteration of the cell secretome. Analysing the key proteins identified from a functional network of AuNP-altered secretome in PCCs and PSCs, we demonstrate that AuNPs impair secretions of major hub node proteins in both cell types and transform activated PSCs toward a lipid-rich quiescent phenotype. By reducing activation of PSCs, AuNPs inhibit matrix deposition, enhance angiogenesis, and inhibit tumour growth in an orthotopic co-implantation model in vivo. “