Messenger of Death

Messenger of Death

Author: Anne Deveson

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the deadliest among women worldwide. An interesting field in cancer-fighting research is immunotherapy, which does not aim to directly eliminate cancer cells, but to activate and enhance the immune system’s action against tumours.

In this field, Ramón Martínez-Máñez, University of València, Spain, Ana M. Jiménez-Lara, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas A. Sols CSIC-UAM, Spain, and their collaborators are interested in the use of ligands for Toll-like receptors (TLRs) to potentiate immune stimulatory pathways. They designed a delivery system based on mesoporous silica nanoparticles capped with synthetic double stranded RNA (dsRNA) polyinosinic–polycytidylic acid. The nanoparticles were loaded with doxorubicin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent.

The team found that these dsRNA-conjugated nanoparticles can effectively target TLR3-expressing breast cancer cells. They cause a TLR3-mediated internalization of the nanoparticles that correlates with a caspase-dependent apoptosis (cell death) induction.


 

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