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Drug Combination Delivered By Nanoparticles May Treat Melanoma

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  • Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that affects men and women.
  • A new study finds nanoparticles to be efficient in delivering drugs to treat melanoma.
  • Combination of celecoxib and plumbagin together called CelePlum-777 is delivered using nanoparticles to treat melanoma.

Drug Combination Delivered By Nanoparticles May Treat Melanoma

A new group of medications that deliver drug combinations by using nanoparticles may help to treat melanoma, finds a research study from Penn State College of Medicine.

A drug combination of Celecoxib, anti-inflammatory, and Plumbagin, a toxin, together known as CelePlum-777 can be used to treat melanoma.


The cells present in our body can find it difficult to overcome the effect of having more than one active ingredient. However, celecoxib and plumbagin may work together at a specific ratio to kill the melanoma cells.

The research team used microscopic particles called nanoparticles to deliver drugs to the cancer cells. Nanoparticles are found to be several hundred times smaller than the width of the hair and can be loaded with medications for delivery.

Raghavendra Gowda, assistant professor of pharmacology, lead author of the study, said, "Loading multiple drugs into nanoparticles is one innovative approach to deliver multiple cancer drugs to a particular site where they need to act, and have them released at that optimal cancer cell-killing ratio."

"Another advantage is that by combining the drugs, lower concentrations of each that are more effective and less toxic can be used."

Need for Developing Nanoparticles
Celecoxib and Plumbagin cannot be taken orally. This is because they cannot be used together in a specific ratio through the mouth. And are also found to be toxic to the patients.

But, CelePlum-777 when injected intravenously (injected into the vein) does not produce any toxicity. The small size of the particles also favors its accumulation inside the tumor cells. This would help to release the drugs inside the cancer cells and kill them.

The research study is reported in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Cancer Letters.

Gavin Robertson, professor of pharmacology, pathology, dermatology and surgery, director of the Penn State Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center and member of Penn State Cancer Institute, said, "This drug is the first of a new class, loaded with multiple agents to more effectively kill melanoma cells, that has potential to reduce the possibility of resistance development."

"There is no drug like it in the clinic today and it is likely that the next breakthrough in melanoma treatment will come from a drug like this one."

Findings of the Study
The results of CelePlum-777 intravenous injection in treating melanoma was showed by killing the cancer cells that grow in culture dishes and in tumors that grow in mice.

The drug was found to prevent the tumor development in mice without any possible side effects. It was also found to prevent proteins from enabling the uncontrolled cancer cell growth.

The Penn State has patented the discovery of nanoparticles to treat Melanoma and it is also licensed to Cipher Pharmaceuticals. Further, research is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing CelePlum-777 before carrying out clinical trials in humans.

Melanoma is a most dangerous form of skin cancer that occurs due to unrepaired DNA damage to the skin cells.

Around 10,130 people in the United States die every year due to melanoma.

According to the World Health Organization (WH0), around 2 - 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers are found to occur every year in the world.

Interesting Facts on Melanoma
  • Melanoma is the second most common cancer in men and women.
  • It usually starts in the form of a mole and can be removed if detected early.
  • The average age of diagnosing melanoma is around 50 years.
  • Melanoma is capable of spreading more quickly than other skin cancers.
  • Intense sunlight for long periods of time should be avoided to prevent melanoma.
  1. 11 Facts About Melanoma - (https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-melanoma)
  2. Melanoma - (http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma)
  3. Skin cancers - (http://www.who.int/uv/faq/skincancer/en/index1.html)

Source: Medindia

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