UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Investigation of Nano-Bio Interactions within a Pancreatic Tumor Microenvironment for the Advancement of Nanomedicine in Cancer Treatment Alhussan, Abdulaziz; Bromma, Kyle; Bozdoğan, Ece Pinar Demirci; Metcalfe, Andrew; Karasinska, Joanna; Beckham, Wayne; Alexander, Abraham S.; Renouf, Daniel J.; Schaeffer, David F.; Chithrani, Devika


Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer, with a five-year survival rate of only 10%. Nanotechnology offers a novel perspective to treat such deadly cancers through their incorporation into radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, the interaction of nanoparticles (NPs) with cancer cells and with other major cell types within the pancreatic tumor microenvironment (TME) is yet to be understood. Therefore, our goal is to shed light on the dynamics of NPs within a TME of pancreatic origin. In addition to cancer cells, normal fibroblasts (NFs) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) were examined in this study due to their important yet opposite roles of suppressing tumor growth and promoting tumor growth, respectively. Gold nanoparticles were used as the model NP system due to their biocompatibility and physical and chemical proprieties, and their dynamics were studied both quantitatively and qualitatively in vitro and in vivo. The in vitro studies revealed that both cancer cells and CAFs take up 50% more NPs compared to NFs. Most importantly, they all managed to retain 70–80% of NPs over a 24-h time period. Uptake and retention of NPs within an in vivo environment was also consistent with in vitro results. This study shows the paradigm-changing potential of NPs to combat the disease.

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