Although immune-based therapies emerge as promising to fight cancers, we will still rely on small molecules for most of the patients. Together with researchers at Clermont-Ferrand, we have investigated inhibitors of Pim-kinases to kill acute myeloid leukaemia cells. Of the molecules we tested, one was particularly promising, and proved efficient also towards leukaemia cells isolated from patients that had developed chemotherapy resistance. Why was our molecule so efficient? Probably because in addition to blocking Pim-kinase activity, it also inhibited other key signalling factors in the leukaemia cells. The work was recently published in Molecular Cancer Therapies.
The figure shows the different molecules tested, and VS-II-173 stands out being very efficient towards acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells, and not towards non-malignant cells. Green indicates low toxicity, red indicates high toxicity.
Can nanocarriers improve therapy for children with cancer? This is something we want to find out, and we recently received a grant from the Norwegian Children’s Cancer Society to investigate this. This is part of a large project, led by specialist in pediatric cancer Maria Winther Gunnes, and with Camilla Tøndel, Randi Hovland, and Emmet McCormack as project participants. Together, we hope to improved the treatment of cancer in children.
Just after Christmas, we got the nice news that our manuscript on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in nanoparticles was accepted for publication in Bioconjugate Chemistry. This work describes an amitious, but very elegant principle for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease. In this disease, the patients suffer from loss of enzyme activity. We showed that it was possible to load functional enzymes into nanoparticles. The nanoparticles internalize the functional enzymes both in cells in culture, and in animals. The work was mainly done by Maite and Fredrik in Aurora Martinez’ group, but also with contributions from Edvin and myself.
This year, we decided to join most other cancer researchers in Bergen to the CCBIO annual symposium at Solstrand hotel. Sarah and Ronja presented a poster on their findings on how the cAMP receptors Epac1 and PKA influences the pressure inside tumours, and subsequently nanoparticle accumulation. This was part of Sarah’s master thesis, and Ronja has supplied excellent data on tumour pressure measurement. A poster is the first presentation of data, and has given us an idea of how the final article will be. We will now start to gather together a manuscript.
Here are the two happy scientists in front of the poster presenting their research.
We finished 2016 with a Christmas Lunch. Even though 2016 was nice, we are sure that 2017 will be even better. Edvin and Sarah will join as PhD students. Edvin got a grant from “Helse-Vest”, and Sarah will start in a UiB-funded PhD grant. Jan-Lukas will start his masters thesis on graphene, which is joint with the University of Stavanger (Hanne Hagland) and Cealtech.
We will shortly move to a new cell culture lab, with new equipment, and the system for zebrafish injection will arrive within a few weeks, so things look bright. We are now quite a few people working with nanomedicine, so the new equipment will come in handy from the very start.
Below you can see a happy bunch of scientists looking forward to next years experiments. Ronja behind the camera.
Gard and Kenny were in our lab doing their project as part of the introductory course in nanotechnology (NANO100). They took part in production of nanoparticles directed towards acute myeloid leukaemia, experiencing both success and failure in the lab. Their final task was to make a poster on their work and results in the lab. The poster was awarded best poster among all the NANO100 students. Below is a picture of the two proud nanoscientists with their poster and diplomas.
Here is the nanomedicine group. Lars Herfindal (group leader) to the left. Then, Ronja Bjørnstad (PhD stud. from April 1st) Edvin Tang Gundersen and Kaja Skålnes Knutsen, both master students in nanoscience. We expect to be a few more people during 2016.
Gareth Griffiths and Lasse Evensen just got accepted an article where they demonstrate how the zebrafish embryo is a nice system for monitoring nanoparticle behaviour in vivo. My contribution was to produce fluorescent liposomes, with or without PEG. The circulation time of the liposomes was greatly increased with addition of PEG. The article is published in the journal Nanoscale, and you can read more here.
Maite, Edvin, Fredrik and I am now at a the European Nanomedicine meeting in Grenoble. Maite and Fredrik presented two posters on encapsulation of tyrosine hydroxylase in maltodextrine nanoparticles, and the results on brain delivery of these. Edvin presented one poster with our latest results on nanoencapsulation of chlorpromazine in liposomes and PLGA nanospheres. Today is the last day, and there has been several interesting talks, given the perspective on the whole process from development of novel nanoparticles to clinical trials. It has been long days, and little time to see the city, but here are some impressions from our way between the hotel and the conference venue. Continue reading Nanomeeting in Grenoble
The first 2016-issue of Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology will be a review issue dedicated to latest research on acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Prof. Frode Selheim at Department of Biomedicine and myself were guest editors, and we managed to get contributions from several outstanding researchers ranging from clinicians to natural compound chemists and microbiologists. I grouped with Dr. Gillian Barratt and Juliette Vergnaud, and PhD candidate Félix Sauvage, to write a review on the potential of using nanocarriers in AML therapy. You can find the whole list of papers here.