Research Highlight

Lipid nanoparticles ferry anticancer drug to brain tumour cells

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.63 Published online 18 May 2016

Researchers have synthesized peptide-modified solid lipid nanoparticles that enhance the efficacy of an anticancer drug and deliver it to brain tumour cells1. These nanoparticles shrink tumour volume by stopping the formation of new blood vessels that aid tumour growth, making them potentially useful for treating brain tumours.

Since most anticancer drugs cannot cross the blood–brain barrier, they fail to arrest the growth of deadly brain tumours.

To devise a better therapy for brain tumours, the researchers modified solid lipid nanoparticles using a peptide that is similar to a neuropeptide receptor found in brain tumour cells. They then loaded the modified nanoparticles with the anticancer drug paclitaxel and compared their anticancer properties with those of unmodified nanoparticles loaded with paclitaxel and free paclitaxel.

The peptide-modified nanoparticles killed the tumour cells more efficiently than the unmodified nanoparticles. The modified nanoparticles released the anticancer drug in two phases ― an initial burst, followed by a slower continuous release.

When incubated with red blood cells, the modified nanoparticles did not rupture the blood cells, indicating that these nanoparticles are biocompatible. In addition, the modified nanoparticles are non-toxic to the liver and prolonged the survival of rats with brain tumours, suggesting that they could be used for treating brain tumours, the researchers say.


1. Banerjee, I. et al. Paclitaxel-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles modified with Tyr-3-octreotide for enhanced anti-angiogenic and anti-glioma therapy. Acta Biomater. (2016) doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.04.026