Nanofibers Guide Brain Tumor Cells | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 92 Issue 8 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: February 24, 2014

Nanofibers Guide Brain Tumor Cells

Glioblastoma cells migrate through conduit away from tumor site
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: polymers, materials science, neurology, brain cancer
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Cancer cells migrate in conduits filled with aligned nanofiber films (top) but not in those filled with smooth films.
Credit: Nat. Mater.
Micrographs of polycaprolactone nanofiber film (left) and a polycaprolactone smooth film (right).
 
Cancer cells migrate in conduits filled with aligned nanofiber films (top) but not in those filled with smooth films.
Credit: Nat. Mater.

Glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive, difficult-to-treat brain cancer, spreads by migrating along topographical features in the organ. Ravi V. Bellamkonda of Georgia Tech and Emory University and coworkers have harnessed this migratory behavior to lead tumor cells to a cell-killing hydrogel. They designed a device that consists of a polycaprolactone-polyurethane tube containing aligned polycaprolactone nanofibers. The tube leads to a collagen-based hydrogel conjugated to cyclopamine, an apo­ptosis-inducing drug (Nat. Mater. 2014, DOI: 10.1038/nmat3878). The nanofibers provide directional cues, leading the tumor cells to the hydrogel. The researchers implanted tumor guides in rats with glioblastoma so that one end was in the brain cortex near the tumor and the other end was outside the cortex. Nanofiber-filled guides reduced the tumor volume by 93% compared with the control, but empty or smooth-film-filled conduits did not. Such cell guides could help move tumor cells from inoperable locations to ones that are more easily accessible, the researchers suggest.

 
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