How do you annihilate lymphoma without using any drugs? Starve it to death by depriving it of what appears to be a favorite food: HDL cholesterol. Northwestern Medicine® researchers discovered this with a new nanoparticle that acts like a secret double agent. It appears to the cancerous lymphoma cell like a preferred meal – natural HDL. But when the particle engages the cell, it actually plugs it up and blocks cholesterol from entering. Deprived of an essential nutrient, the cell eventually dies. A new study by C. Shad Thaxton, MD, assistant professor in urology, and Leo Gordon, MD, Abby and John Friend Professor of Oncology Research, shows that synthetic HDL nanoparticles killed B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of the disease, in cultured human cells, and inhibited human B-cell lymphoma tumor growth in mice.
Northwestern Medicine® researchers have discovered a new nanoparticle that acts like a secret double agent. The nanoparticle – originally developed by C. Shad Thaxton, MD, as a possible therapy for heart disease – closely mimics the size, shape, and surface chemistry of natural HDL particles. But it has one key difference: a five nanometer gold particle at its core. After it attaches to a lymphoma cell, the gold particle’s spongy surface helps to kill it.
“This has the potential to eventually become a nontoxic treatment for B-cell lymphoma which does not involve chemotherapy,” said Gordon, a co-corresponding author with Thaxton on the paper. “It’s an exciting preliminary finding.” The paper was published on Monday, January 21, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.