New Way towards Curing Cancer

  • [2012-09-22]
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    • WEN Longping's Team from School of Life Sciences of USTC found a news way to increase the possibility to cure cancer. Their research as published on Nature Materials online on July 15th, entitled with "Tuning the autophagy-inducing activity of lanthanide-based nanocrystals through specific surface-coating peptides".

      The research shows how a short synthetic peptide, RE-1, forms a stable coating layer on the nanoparticles' surface, and effectively abrogates their autophagy-inducing activity. The achievement RE-1 and its variants provide a versatile tool for tuning material–cell interactions to achieve the desired level of autophagy, and may prove useful for the various diagnostic and therapeutic applications of LN-based nanomaterial and nanodevices. Autophagy plays vital physiological and pathological roles in all essentially mammalian cells. With unique physicochemical properties, nanomaterials have emerged as a new class of autophagy-inducers in recent years. The induction of autophagy on exposure of cells to a variety of nanoparticles represents both a safety concern and an application niche for engineered nanomaterial.

      Figure: RE-1 coating abrogates autophagy induction and toxicity for UCN in HeLa cells. Fluorescent microscopy images of GFP–LC3/HeLa cells treated with the increasing concentrations of uncoated and RE-1-coated UCN for 24 h.

      It is of great interest to develop a simple and effective approach to control the autophagy-inducing activity for nanomaterial.

      They hypothesized that an appropriate binding peptide with the right surface modifying properties might be able to alter the autophagy-inducing property of the nanomaterial. They employed phage display, a proven technique for obtaining specific binding peptides for inorganic nanomaterial, and LN-based nanocrystals, which are potent autophagy inducers, as the model system to assess this hypothesis. 

      Based on this hypothesis, the short synthetic peptide, RE-1, has been found which forms a stable coating layer on the nanoparticles' surface, and effectively abrogates their autophagy-inducing activity. Nanocrystals coated by newly found peptide may be ideally suited for both cancer and anti-angiogenesis therapy and, combined with the use of an autophagy-suppressing motif or inhibitor, for diagnostic imaging applications.

       

      (JI Jiaojiao, USTC News Center)