Leading Dutch experts present nano options for cancer treatment

On Nano World Cancer Day 2017 leading Dutch experts shared their views on the treatment of several types of cancer with nanomedicine at a mini conference in Utrecht. On 2 February a mix of scientists, engineers, policymakers and patient representatives attended this mini conference consisting of five clear and concise lectures focussing on smart solutions to beat cancer and the application of nanomedicine in cancer research. A short report of the mini conference nanomedicine and cancer (pdf) is now available. NanoNextNL co-organised this event with Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding) and NWO Domain TTW.

Smooth implementation and inhibiting tumor growth

Collected quotes from the leading Dutch experts presenting at the mini conference Nano World Cancer Day 2017:

“This method can be used with standard surgical instruments, which allows for smooth implementation.”
– Dr. Joost Pouw

Joost Pouw webDr. Joost Pouw (MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, University of Twente)

Dr. Pouw (University of Twente) works with magnetic nanoparticles to localize the lymph node nearest to the tumor. This so-called sentinel node is removed to check on presence of metastasized tumor cells. With this method, the patient may be spared major surgery to remove all lymph nodes. The sentinel node can be localized using radioisotopes. However, due to regulation and limited production, these isotopes are not always available. Dr. Pouw and colleagues conduct a clinical trial on the use of better available magnetic nanoparticles as an alternative for the isotopes.

“Imaging of the microspheres is not our ultimate goal. Effective treatment of liver tumors through imaging ís.”
– Drs. Sander Poelert

Sander Poelert webDrs. Sander Poelert (Quierem Medical B.V.)

After obtaining the CE marking in 2015, QuieremSpheres® are available to patients throughout Europe. The tiny radioactive holmium microspheres can internally irradiate liver tumors, a method called radio-embolization. The holmium microspheres are visible on MRI scans and SPECT-CT, which allows for early determination of treatment efficacy in every patient.

“The nanoparticles significantly inhibit prostate tumor growth”
– Dr. Gabri van der Pluijm

Gabri van der Pluijm webDr. Gabri van der Pluijm (Department of Urology, Leiden University Medical Center)

LUMC, Utrecht University and Enceladus Pharmaceuticals collaborated to develop a potential drug (Oncocort) against the more malignant prostate tumors, that are difficult to treat and a leading cause of death in men. The drug contains dexamethasone packaged in nanoparticles called liposomes. Early studies show promising results: the nanoparticles can find their way to the prostate, accumulate there, and inhibit tumor growth. This means there are new opportunities against this hard to treat form of cancer. This research has been funded from NanoNextNL resources.

“Currently, there is no effective treatment. The diagnosis is a terrible message for parents and children.”
– Dr. Pieter Gaillard

Pieter Galliard web Dr. Pieter Gaillard (2-BBB Medicines B.V.)

Brain tumors are hard to treat; surgery usually only brings temporarily relief and is sometimes not even an option. In these cases, the only remaining options are radiation or chemo. However, radiation on the brain has many adverse effects, and drugs are very hard to transport across the blood-brain barrier. The drug Caelyx® is smartly packaged in nanoparticles. These particles are coated in a way that allows them to diffuse through the blood-brain barrier. Combined with ultrasound to open up the local blood vessels, the efficacy of the drugs can be enhanced even further.