Ovarian cancer (OC), the most lethal gynaecological malignancy, has the fourth highest mortality rate of cancers in women. Non-specific symptoms minimise early diagnosis and late-stage disease has limited therapeutic options. Nanomedicine offers promise to improve cancer therapy by removing administration difficulties, bypassing premature drug metabolism, enhancing stability, prevent systemic exposure of the drug thus minimising side effects and enhancing drug accumulation in the tumour. Polymer nanoparticles (NP) were identified as a non-expensive and flexible alternative to clinical standard liposomes. PEG-pTMC is a biodegradable and resorbable co-block polymer that can form particles in 10 minutes.
This work demonstrated the biocompatibility of PEG-pTMC NPs and identified three lead candidates. NPs demonstrated excellent biodistribution profiles in both intravenous and intraperitoneal administration, evidenced by minimal systemic exposure with high tumour and peritoneal accumulation (IP only). Three cancer drugs (cisplatin, gefitinib and HDACi2) with varying degrees of success in OC were encapsulated. Nanoformulations were compared to the free drug across several metrics nanoformulations consistently enhanced therapeutic profiles over the free drug(s).
We hope that we can take this drug support platform all the way to clinical translation. In this case we will be able to minimise chemotherapy toxicity and improve the response rates to drugs. Translation would enable improve patient quality of life and survival rates.
Kadie is currently working as a postdoc researcher in RBGO, the same group she conducted her PhD with. The group will explore whether their NPs can be used for gene therapies.