We develop nano-particles with different sizes (70-250nm) with different loads including chemotherapy, cell signaling inhibitors, radioisotopes (for therapy and imaging), and fluorescent dyes for imaging. The nano-particles can be targeted using different targeting moieties (such as antibodies, receptors and ligands) to specifically target a variety of tumor types including multiple myeloma, lymphoma, leukemia; as well as brain, lung cervix, breast. head and neck lung, and other cancers.
Azab Lab is part of the Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy (CMMN) at Washington University in Saint Louis.
Current cancer therapy relies on chemotherapy as a major strategy. Traditional chemotherapy has shown several disadvantages such as lack of targeting capabilities, affecting normal healthy tissues; non-specific distribution, producing systemic toxicity and side effects; and low therapeutic index. Nanoparticle delivery systems are aimed to target higher doses of active agents into the tumor areas while sparing healthy tissues, overcoming the limitations of traditional chemotherapy.
Liposomes were first described in the 1960s; they are vesicles made of a bilayer of amphiphilic lipids enclosing a hydrophilic core, which can carry hydrophilic drugs within the aqueous core area while hydrophobic drugs within the hydrophobic region of the bilayer. Lliposomes have been reported to improve the therapeutic index of chemotherapeutic agents, and reduced greatly toxicity more than increased efficacy.
Polymeric nanoparticles are particles prepared from polymers, they can be biodegradable or non-biodegradable, synthetic or natural and the drug is dissolved, entrapped, encapsulated or attached to the matrix. Some of the most common polymers used in our Lab are polylactic acid (PLA), polyglycolic acid (PGA), polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), chitosan, alginate and dextran.