Cancer Research

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Cancer is considered as the main reason for unregulated cell growth that forms as a tumor with the potential to spread to other parts of the human body. The research in this field is one of the most important area of interest for many researchers worldwide. Cancer research is a basic investigation into different types of cancerous cells to identify causes and to develop strategies for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and even cure. Our research in this field ranges from epidemiology, molecular bioscience to the performance of clinical trials. Apart from research in cancer detection, we have developed different sort of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and anticancer agents. We are also developing innovative carriers for the sustained release of anticancer drugs to enhance the efficacy and reduce the side effects.

Highlights

  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide-based nanoparticles (SPIONs) have attracted enormous attentions for their potential use in biomedical applications. The two main forms of SPIONs are magnetite (Fe3O4) and its oxidized form maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) have shown superior advantages over other materials in this class due to their superparamagnetic properties and their potential applications in many fields (although Co and Ni are also highly magnetic materials, they are toxic and easily oxidized). We have recently studied the effect of adding different amounts of zinc into the composition of Zn-Mn ferrite /oleylamine core/shell nanoparticles. We used acetylacetonate as a main precursor, oleylamine as a surfactant and surface modifier, and stearyl alcohol as a co-surfactant for thermal decomposition synthesis of this ferrite. Our primary results indicate that the M-H curves for all the samples show negligible hysteresis loops indicating the superparamagnetic behavior of the NPs. Furthermore, the maximum saturation magnetization of our sample with Mn0.6Zn0.4Fe2O4 with 45 amu.gr−1, suggests that this composition could be an excellent candidate for biomedical applications such as hyperthermia and imaging.



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  • There have been several attempts to deliver novel anticancer drugs into the body. Due to their exceptional physico-chemical and biological characteristics, colloidal gelatin nanoparticles (CGNPs) have shown distinct properties compared to other available carriers for the delivery of anticancer drugs. The unique characteristics of CGNPs are broadly exploited in order to develop new methods of targeted drug delivery and new therapeutic pathways. We have recently developed a novel water-soluble palladium (II) anticancer complex (Pd(II)ACC), [Pd(bpy)(pip-Ac)]NO3, and then loaded it into CGNPs. Our primary results show that the average drug encapsulating efficiency and drug loading of CGNPs are about 64 and 10 ± 2.1% (w/w), respectively. In addition, our in vitro cytotoxicity test indicats that the number of growing cells significantly decreased after 48 h in the presence of different concentrations of Pd(II)ACC as a potential antitumor agent. We expect that the released Pd(II)ACC can efficiently bind to DNA by a static mechanism at low concentrations on the basis of hydrophobic interaction and hydrogen binding interactions.



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  • The Mozafari Group has developed many delivery systems for routine anticancer drugs to enhance their efficacy in the body. For example, we reported successful loading of doxorubicin (Dox) as an effective anticancer drug into poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) to improve the drug performance and also maximize the release period. We showed that the NPs had nearly the same diameters around 360 nm, and the entrapment efficiencies for 75:25 PLGA and 50:50 PLGA were around 39 and 48 %, respectively. The primary release was 7.91 % (w/w) and 14.70 % (w/w) for 75:25 and 50:50 drug-loaded NPs, respectively; no burst effect was observed. In another study, we performed a comparative study on Hypericum perforatum (H. perforatum) and doxorubicin (Dox) anticancer agents. We used double emulsion and sonication techniques to enhance drug loading efficiency in PLGA NPs. We estimated that the entrapment efficiency was 48 and 21% for Dox-loaded and H. perforatum-loaded NPs, respectively. Surprisingly, the encapsulation process disrupted the formation of Dox crystals (Dox in NPs converted from the crystalline to the amorphous phase), whereas disordered crystalline was observed for H. perforatum.