Combination pack battles cancer
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For efficient cancer therapy with few side effects, the active drug should selectively attain high concentration in the tumor. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, scientists have introduced a new approach, in which two synergistic drug components are combined into a dimer. This dimer can be incorporated into polymeric nanotransporters at exceptionally high concentration. The components are activated when the dimer is split within the tumor. In addition, they enable use of two different imaging techniques.

Polymeric micelles are the most important nanotransporters used in treating tumors. Despite improved transport systems, many challenges must still be overcome: insufficient loading, premature release of the drug, no ability to monitor distribution of the drug, and limited accumulation of the drug within the tumor tissue. Longjiang Zhang, Guizhi Zhu, Xiaoyuan Chen, and their team have approached these problems from the other direction. Instead of improving the transporter, they improved the cargo.

The scientists from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, and Nanjing University, China, have used a simple but effective trick: they connected two drugs, camptothecin and a special photosensitizer, to make a dimer. Micelles can very efficiently be loaded with an unusually large amount of the dimeric freight (59%). The

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