Research Highlight

Killing brain tumour with nanoparticles

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.65 Published online 30 April 2012

Researchers have developed new polymer-coated magnetic nanoparticles which can ferry paclitaxel, an anticancer drug across the blood-brain barrier(BBB). These magnetic nanoparticles will be useful in imaging and carrying drugs to intractable brain tumours.

Malignant glioma, a type of lethal brain tumour, shows resistant to anticancer drugs. Recent studies have shown that magnetic nanoparticles coated with fatty acids could cross the BBB and function at cellular and molecular level.

To tap the potential of magnetic nanoparticles, the researchers synthesized iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and coated it with glycerol monooleate, a type of lipid polymer. They loaded the MNPs with paclitaxel to yield Pac-MNPs.

They also prepared GPNMB (glycoprotein non-metastatic melanoma protein B) antibody-tagged Pac-MNPs. GPNMB is a cell surface protein overexpressed in human brain tumour cell lines. In addition, they carried out cellular uptake studies using cultured human brain tumour cell lines, MNPs and GPNMB antibody-conjugated MNPs encapsulated with a fluorescent dye molecule.

The result showed increased cellular uptake of GPNMB antibody-tagged dye-loaded-MNPs after two hours of incubation. In cellular uptake studies with rat brain tissues, dye-loaded MNPs reached the brain tissues by crossing the BBB, 30 minutes after injection.

"Besides their therapeutic potential, the MNP-based formulations can help diagnose lethal form of brain tumours at the earliest stage through non-invasive technique," says lead researcher Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo.

The authors of this work are from: Laboratory of Nanomedicine, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar and Department of NMR & MRI Facility, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


  1. Dilnawaz, F. et al. The transport of non-surfactant based paclitaxel loaded magnetic nanoparticles across the blood brain barrier in a rat model. Biomaterials. 33, 2936-2951 (2012) | Article | PubMed |