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Hopes are High For Liposomal Delivery of Mesothelioma Drugs

If you remember any of your high school biology, the term “liposome” will sound familiar. A liposome is a tiny bubble that has at least one layer of fat. It is also one of the most exciting new areas of research in the treatment of cancer and other conditions, as scientists have determined that they can fill liposomes with drugs and then deliver them directly to cells. The process is more targeted and has proven to be provide better tolerance of chemotherapy drugs and other medications, with fewer toxic side effects. The approach has been successful in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, fungal infections, macular degeneration and even the flu, and now it is being tested for use in treating malignant mesothelioma.

A collaborative research team made up of scientists from Tokushima University in Japan and Zagazig University in Egypt have recently published the results of their study of a fat-based coating to be used with pemetrexed, the gold-standard treatment for mesothelioma. Though pemetrexed is the only medication that is currently specifically approved for the asbestos-related disease, its effectiveness has been limited and patients suffer serious side effects during the protocol. But according to lead author Noah Essam Eldin writing in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, using the liposomal delivery system made the drug more efficient and diminished side effects. “Our results clearly emphasize the therapeutic efficacy of liposomal pemetrexed over free pemetrexed in conquering aggressive solid tumors such as malignant mesothelioma,” he writes.

The liposomal delivery system encapsulates molecules of the medication into bubbles made of fat molecules, which are specifically engineered to target and be attracted to mesothelioma cells. The approach was first tested in cells in the laboratory, and later tried on laboratory animals that had been infected with the fatal disease. Mice were treated with pemetrexed that had been incorporated with the liposomes in varying degrees of membrane fluidity to determine which would be most effective while minimizing side effects. The group found that the more fluid the liposome membrane, the greater the suppression of tumor growth, and the longer the medication remained in the tumors.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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