Cancer Overview

IV Nutrition Can Improve Effectiveness of Chemo Drugs

An IV-administered nutrition source could lessen the toxicity of platinum-based cancer drugs, according to a new study.

The analysis, by biologists from Carnegie Mellon University, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Platinum-based drugs, including cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin, have been used to treat cancer for decades. They are the most potent chemotherapy drugs, but they also cause serious side effects, including kidney damage.

Many of the side effects occur when the drugs settle in healthy tissue. Researchers are working toward treatments that will affect only the tumor, but so far those techniques work in only 1 to 10 percent of cases.

“The body’s immune system, especially the liver and spleen, has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in developing nanoscale chemotherapy drug delivery systems,” said Chien Ho, the Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon. “When the drugs collect in those organs, they become less available to treat the cancer, and can also cause toxicity.”

Ho and his colleagues had been developing “cellular nanotags” to help detect organ rejection, when Ho noticed that Intralipid, a fat emulsion that is FDA-approved for use as an intravenous nutrition source, reduced the amount of nanoparticles that were being cleared by the liver and spleen by about 50 percent. As a result, the nanoparticles remained in the blood stream for longer periods of time, according to a news release from the university.

Ho and his colleagues decided to see if Intralipid had the same effect on platinum-based anti-cancer nanodrugs. In the newly published study, the researchers administered a single, clinical dose of Intralipid to an animal model. One hour later, they administered a dose of a platinum-based chemotherapy drug that had been incorporated into a nanoparticle.

Twenty-four hours after the drug was administered, the researchers found that pre-treatment with Intralipid reduced the accumulation of the platinum-based drug by 20.4 percent in the liver, 42.5 percent in the spleen and 31.2 percent in the kidney. The intralipid pre-treatment also allowed more of the chemotherapy drug to be available and active in the body.

The researchers hope to conduct a clinical trial in the future.


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