Research into nanoparticle delivery of cancer drugs receives CPRIT funding

A drug-delivery system that targets and destroys ovarian cancer cells is one step closer to improving the outcome for women diagnosed with the often deadly disease.

A $742,000 Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant will be used to strengthen research on the use of "good cholesterol" nanoparticles that can selectively shrink or destroy ovarian cancer tumors. The funding is the first commercial CPRIT grant that UNT Health Science Center has received.

The grant, which is being shared with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will help expedite the goal of launching human clinical trials involving the use of nanoparticles to fight ovarian cancer, said Andres Lacko, PhD, Professor of Integrative Physiology & Anatomy and Pediatrics.

Dr. Lacko and Anil Sood, MD, of M.D. Anderson have been working together to develop better ways to destroy malignant tumors. They jointly developed the approach using nanoparticles for cancer therapeutics, which builds on Dr. Lacko’s original research utilizing synthetic high-density lipoprotein’s (HDL) potential for cancer-drug delivery.

"Ovarian cancer is such a tough disease to treat," Dr. Lacko said. "We are hopeful this will prove to be a highly effective way to treat this disease in combination with other therapies."

For 14 years, Dr. Lacko has studied drug-carrying synthetic "good" cholesterol nanoparticles called "rHDL," which can function like a Trojan horse. Cancer cells consume large amounts of cholesterol, so they can be fooled when anti-cancer drugs are placed inside the rHDL particles.

The unique drug-delivery method makes it possible to bypass most normal cells, which don’t need as much cholesterol, and go straight to the cancer cells, thus sparing patients from experiencing the harmful effects of chemotherapy.

The research also is being applied to potentially treat breast, prostate and other cancers.

Research on another phase of the nanoparticle development, based on the same principles, recently led to a license agreement with a Silicon Valley company that could lead to the manufacture of the nanoparticles for human trials, Dr. Lacko said.

"We hope to attract investors and, in the long run, move toward manufacturing this formulation," Dr. Lacko said. "UNTHSC is half owner of the patents involving the rHDL nanoparticles and will benefit greatly if this approach is a clinical/commercial success."

Recent News

7281bfad 8597 4cef 80de B58ea8a26ab5
  • Community
|Jun 10, 2024

North Texas Asthma Summit to improve asthma outcomes for children

Representatives from 10 North Texas organizations will come together Wednesday with one common goal in mind: improving health outcomes for children with poorly controlled asthma. The goal of the North Texas Asthma Summit is to develop community partnerships to help these children who frequently e...
Dobbs Headshot
  • Our People
|Jun 7, 2024

School of Health Professions welcomes three new staff members

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Health Professions is excited to announce three new staff members in the dean’s office. Christa Lo, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, joins SHP as associate dean. In her role, she will assist in overseeing the school’s academic...
Drwhite
  • Our People
|Jun 6, 2024

TCOM Alumnus Dr. Frederick White receives the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service from the AOCR

In recognition of his outstanding leadership, dedication and service, Frederick E. White, DO, FAOCR, a 1977 graduate from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, was selected as the recipient of the American Osteopathic College ...
Hampton 5
  • On Campus
|Jun 5, 2024

Hampton University representatives visit HSC to build partnerships

A delegation of five representatives from Hampton University visited The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s campus on Friday. Hampton University is a private, historically Black university founded in 1868 in Hampton, Virginia. The group included President of Ham...