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Nanotechnology solution to tackle brain tumors

Research Achievements

Nanotechnology solution to tackle brain tumors

IGERT trainee Omid Veiseh collaborated with both UW and NCI researchers to develop a nanotechnology-based solution to tackle brain tumors. They engineered a toxin-nanoparticle combo that inhibits brain cancer invasion while enabling imaging of tumors with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by attaching chlorotoxin, a small brain tumor targeting peptide toxin produced by the death stalker scorpion, to magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which can act as tumor imaging agents in MRI. The chlorotoxin-targeted nanoparticles are rapidly taken up by cultured glioblastoma tumor cells via binding to a surface protein known as MMP-2 that is overexpressed by many highly invasive tumors, including glioblastoma. Nanoparticle binding and internalization reduces the amount of MMP-2 remaining on the cell surface. This novel nanoparticle produced a 98% inhibition of cell invasiveness, compared to a 50% drop when cells were treated with chlorotoxin alone.