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1.  Curcumin Nanomedicine: A Road to Cancer Therapeutics 
Current pharmaceutical design  2013;19(11):1994-2010.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Conventional therapies cause widespread systemic toxicity and lead to serious side effects which prohibit their long term use. Additionally, in many circumstances tumor resistance and recurrence is commonly observed. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify suitable anticancer therapies that are highly precise with minimal side effects. Curcumin is a natural polyphenol molecule derived from the Curcuma longa plant which exhibits anticancer, chemo-preventive, chemo- and radio-sensitization properties. Curcumin’s widespread availability, safety, low cost and multiple cancer fighting functions justify its development as a drug for cancer treatment. However, various basic and clinical studies elucidate curcumin’s limited efficacy due to its low solubility, high rate of metabolism, poor bioavailability and pharmacokinetics. A growing list of nanomedicine(s) using first line therapeutic drugs have been approved or are under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve human health. These nanotechnology strategies may help to overcome challenges and ease the translation of curcumin from bench to clinical application. Prominent research is reviewed which shows that advanced drug delivery of curcumin (curcumin nanoformulations or curcumin nanomedicine) is able to leverage therapeutic benefits by improving bioavailability and pharmacokinetics which in turn improves binding, internalization and targeting of tumor(s). Outcomes using these novel drug delivery systems have been discussed in detail. This review also describes the tumor-specific drug delivery system(s) that can be highly effective in destroying tumors. Such new approaches are expected to lead to clinical trials and to improve cancer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3640558  PMID: 23116309
Nanotechnology; curcumin nanomedicine; drug delivery; cancer therapy; chemo-prevention; and tumor targeting
2.  Curcumin nanoformulations: a future nanomedicine for cancer 
Drug Discovery Today  2011;17(1-2):71-80.
Curcumin, a natural diphenolic compound derived from turmeric Curcuma longa, has proven to be a modulator of intracellular signaling pathways that control cancer cell growth, inflammation, invasion, apoptosis and cell death, revealing its anticancer potential. In this review, we focus on the design and development of nanoparticles, self-assemblies, nanogels, liposomes and complex fabrication for sustained and efficient curcumin delivery. We also discuss the anticancer applications and clinical benefits of nanocurcumin formulations. Only a few novel multifunctional and composite nanosystem strategies offer simultaneous therapy as well as imaging characteristics. We also summarize the challenges to developing curcumin delivery platforms and up-to-date solutions for improving curcumin bioavailability and anticancer potential for therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2011.09.009
PMCID: PMC3259195  PMID: 21959306
3.  Curcumin-loaded magnetic nanoparticles for breast cancer therapeutics and imaging applications 
Background
The next generation magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with theranostic applications have attracted significant attention and will greatly improve nanomedicine in cancer therapeutics. Such novel MNP formulations must have ultra-low particle size, high inherent magnetic properties, effective imaging, drug targeting, and drug delivery properties. To achieve these characteristic properties, a curcumin-loaded MNP (MNP-CUR) formulation was developed.
Methods
MNPs were prepared by chemical precipitation method and loaded with curcumin (CUR) using diffusion method. The physicochemical properties of MNP-CUR were characterized using dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, and spectroscopy. The internalization of MNP-CUR was achieved after 6 hours incubation with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The anticancer potential was evaluated by a tetrazolium-based dye and colony formation assays. Further, to prove MNP-CUR results in superior therapeutic effects over CUR, the mitochondrial membrane potential integrity and reactive oxygen species generation were determined. Magnetic resonance imaging capability and magnetic targeting property were also evaluated.
Results
MNP-CUR exhibited individual particle grain size of ~9 nm and hydrodynamic average aggregative particle size of ~123 nm. Internalized MNP-CUR showed a preferential uptake in MDA-MB-231 cells in a concentration-dependent manner and demonstrated accumulation throughout the cell, which indicates that particles are not attached on the cell surface but internalized through endocytosis. MNP-CUR displayed strong anticancer properties compared to free CUR. MNP-CUR also amplified loss of potential integrity and generation of reactive oxygen species upon treatment compared to free CUR. Furthermore, MNP-CUR exhibited superior magnetic resonance imaging characteristics and significantly increased the targeting capability of CUR.
Conclusion
MNP-CUR exhibits potent anticancer activity along with imaging and magnetic targeting capabilities. This approach can be extended to preclinical and clinical use and may have importance in cancer treatment and cancer imaging in the future. Further, if these nanoparticles can functionalize with antibody/ligands, they will serve as novel platforms for multiple biomedical applications.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S29290
PMCID: PMC3356199  PMID: 22619526
magnetic nanoparticles; drug delivery systems; magnetic resonance imaging; nanomedicine; cancer therapeutics; biomedical applications
4.  Multi-functional Magnetic Nanoparticles for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Cancer Therapy 
Biomaterials  2010;32(7):1890-1905.
We have developed a multi-layer approach for the synthesis of water-dispersible superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for hyperthermia, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and drug delivery applications. In this approach, iron oxide core nanoparticles were obtained by precipitation of iron salts in the presence of ammonia and provided β-cyclodextrin and pluronic polymer (F127) coatings. This formulation (F127250) was highly water dispersible which allowed encapsulation of the anti-cancer drug(s) in β-cyclodextrin and pluronic polymer for sustained drug release. The F127250 formulation has exhibited superior hyperthermia effects over time under alternating magnetic field compared to pure magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) and β-cyclodextrin coated nanoparticles (CD200). Additionally, the improved MRI characteristics were also observed for the F127250 formulation in agar gel and in cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells (A12780CP) compared to MNP and CD200 formulations. Furthermore, the drug loaded formulation of F127250 exhibited many folds of imaging contrast properties. Due to the internalization capacity of the F127250 formulation, its curcumin loaded formulation (F127250-CUR) exhibited almost equivalent inhibition effects on A2780CP (ovarian), MDA-MB-231 (breast), and PC3 (prostate) cancer cells even though curcumin release was only 40%. The improved therapeutic effects were verified by examining molecular effects using Western blotting and transmission electron microscopic (TEM) studies. F127250-CUR also exhibited haemocompatibility, suggesting a nanochemo-therapuetic agent for cancer therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.11.028
PMCID: PMC3021632  PMID: 21167595
Magnetic nanoparticles; multi-layer coating; MRI; drug delivery; hyperthermia
5.  Scope of nanotechnology in ovarian cancer therapeutics 
This review describes the use of polymer micelle nanotechnology based chemotherapies for ovarian cancer. While various chemotherapeutic agents can be utilized to improve the survival rate of patients with ovarian cancer, their distribution throughout the entire body results in high normal organ toxicity. Polymer micelle nanotechnology aims to improve the therapeutic efficacy of anti-cancer drugs while minimizing the side effects. Herein, different types of polymer micelle technology based nanotherapies such as PLGA, polymerosomes, acid cleavable, thermosensitive, pH sensitive, and cross-linked micelles are introduced and structural differences are explained. Additionally, production methods, stability, sustainability, drug incorporation and drug release profiles of various polymer micelle based nanoformulations are discussed. An important feature of polymer micelle nanotechnology is the small size (10-100 nm) of particles which improves circulation and enables superior accumulation of the therapeutic drugs at the tumor sites. This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of different types of polymer micelles and their implications in ovarian cancer therapeutics.
doi:10.1186/1757-2215-3-19
PMCID: PMC2924337  PMID: 20691083
6.  Curcumin induces chemo/radio-sensitization in ovarian cancer cells and curcumin nanoparticles inhibit ovarian cancer cell growth 
Background
Chemo/radio-resistance is a major obstacle in treating advanced ovarian cancer. The efficacy of current treatments may be improved by increasing the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemo/radiation therapies. Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound with anti-cancer activity in multiple cancers; however, its chemo/radio-sensitizing potential is not well studied in ovarian cancer. Herein, we demonstrate the effectiveness of a curcumin pre-treatment strategy for chemo/radio-sensitizing cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells. To improve the efficacy and specificity of curcumin induced chemo/radio sensitization, we developed a curcumin nanoparticle formulation conjugated with a monoclonal antibody specific for cancer cells.
Methods
Cisplatin resistant A2780CP ovarian cancer cells were pre-treated with curcumin followed by exposure to cisplatin or radiation and the effect on cell growth was determined by MTS and colony formation assays. The effect of curcumin pre-treatment on the expression of apoptosis related proteins and β-catenin was determined by Western blotting or Flow Cytometry. A luciferase reporter assay was used to determine the effect of curcumin on β-catenin transcription activity. The poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticle formulation of curcumin (Nano-CUR) was developed by a modified nano-precipitation method and physico-chemical characterization was performed by transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering methods.
Results
Curcumin pre-treatment considerably reduced the dose of cisplatin and radiation required to inhibit the growth of cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells. During the 6 hr pre-treatment, curcumin down regulated the expression of Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 pro-survival proteins. Curcumin pre-treatment followed by exposure to low doses of cisplatin increased apoptosis as indicated by annexin V staining and cleavage of caspase 9 and PARP. Additionally, curcumin pre-treatment lowered β-catenin expression and transcriptional activity. Nano-CUR was successfully generated and physico-chemical characterization of Nano-CUR indicated an average particle size of ~70 nm, steady and prolonged release of curcumin, antibody conjugation capability and effective inhibition of ovarian cancer cell growth.
Conclusion
Curcumin pre-treatment enhances chemo/radio-sensitization in A2780CP ovarian cancer cells through multiple molecular mechanisms. Therefore, curcumin pre-treatment may effectively improve ovarian cancer therapeutics. A targeted PLGA nanoparticle formulation of curcumin is feasible and may improve the in vivo therapeutic efficacy of curcumin.
doi:10.1186/1757-2215-3-11
PMCID: PMC2880315  PMID: 20429876

Results 1-6 (6)