The Good Guys Vs. The Bad Cancer Guys

HDL provides transportation for oncology drugs

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It is known that the good guy, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), disposes of excess cholesterol in the liver.

New research shows no one knew just how good that guy is.

HDL can be synthesized and made to serve as kind of a "taxi cab service" to get cancer drugs the ultimate destination. Before this research, getting the cancer drugs to the cancer cells was a challenge.

"Synthetic HDL can help fight cancer."

Anil Sood, M.D., the study's senior author and MD Anderson's director of Ovarian Cancer Research and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA at MD Anderson notes that this study is an experimental therapy of cancer therapeutics using man-made RNA molecules.

Getting the RNA delivered to the cancer cells has been a struggle, because if the RNA is not in a delivery system, it is broken down and excreted before reaching its cancer cell destination and achieving its purpose.

The research found that combining small interfering RNA (siRNA) with HDL efficiently gets those molecules to the targets. siRNA existence was first reported in 1999 in Science magazine.

The primary role of siRNA is RNA interference with the expression of a specific gene. This quality allows it to interfere with cancer proliferation.

The team developed a synthetic version of HDL, called rHDL, because it's more stable than the natural version. 

Sood and Andras Lacko, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology at UNT Health Science Center, jointly developed the nanoparticles, their synthetic version of HDL called rHDL, which built on Lacko's original insight about HDL's potential for cancer drug delivery. Next for researchers?

Prepare for human clinical trials. Scientists are encouraged as it is likely that cancer patients will benefit from a new type of treatment where delivery of siRNA is successful and productive for fighting cancer.

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Review Date: 
April 4, 2011
Last Updated:
April 7, 2011