The research is led by Shi Xiangyang and Cao Xueyan of the Shanghai Engineering Research Centre of Nano-Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine at Donghua University in Shanghai. They have been focusing on using nano-biotechnology to diagnose and treat cancer for more than a decade.
Shi and his team modified the surface of the polymer with targeting agent LyP-1 peptide, which can specifically recognise and bind to a protein that is abnormally overexpressed on various types of tumour cells, especially breast cancers. They said as a result, the nanoplatform could navigate and find its bomb target.
Then nanoparticles – including copper sulphide (CuS) and DMXAA, a drug that cuts tumour vascular cells – are incorporated in the cabin of the polymer as a weapon, according to SCMP.
One of the major strengths of the team’s work is the synergy between the different weapons aboard the “aircraft carrier”.
While CuS and DMXAA kill tumour cells in their own way, jointly they trigger the body’s immune system to fight the cancer by inducing immunogenic cell death and regulating immune responses.