The medical centre of the German university in the institute of radio-oncology and radiation therapy has developed a technology for coupling lanthanide compounds in PLGA nanoparticles.
In Europe almost one in three people suffer from cancer during the course of their life.
The radiation therapy is widely used as a method of treatment. Cancer cells will be harmed more, because they are more sensitive than healthy cells to ionizing radiation. Nevertheless, to reduce the cancer cell growth, significantly high doses of radiation have to be used, but this leads to unwanted side-effects. Locally acting enhancers can increase the radiation, so that the cumulative dose is reduced, and at the same time the ionizing effect in the tumour tissue itself is increased. The radiation enhancer should not be toxic for the healthy tissue.
The new technology uses lanthanides compounds, which are coupled to biodegradable lactic acid polymers to intensify radiation. The problem of unintended polymer accumulation in the body is avoided by the nanoparticles’ biodegradability. These particles can be introduced locally into the tumour tissue. For the radiation-potentiating effect it is sufficient to use only photon radiation, which is produced by common X-ray machines, thus additional neutron radiation is not necessary. X-ray machines usually exist in doctors’ surgeries, so that more widespread application of radiation enhancer is possible.
The lanthanide radiation enhancer can be disposed in all cancer treatments, which use radiation therapy. They ensure a more efficient combat against the tumour tissue by local enhancement of the radiation in the tumour, and thus a lower burden for the patient through a reduced cumulative dose.
The university seeks to license the new technology to companies capable to further develop the technology towards a marketable product.