'Metal Organic Frameworks – A New Drug Delivery Approach to Improving the Treatment Outcome of the Childhood Cancer, Neuroblastoma' by Izuchika Nduka
Neuroblastoma is a common type of cancer found in children. It is responsible for 15% of all childhood cancer-related deaths. Treatment strategies used till date includes surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Yet, the therapeutic outcome remains poor, necessitating the need for new therapeutic approaches. Recent evidence suggests that compounds isolated from the fungi, Aspergillus fumigatus, exhibits some anti-cancer effects. However, targeting these compounds specifically to the cancer cells with minimal or no toxicity to surrounding healthy cells is still a challenge. Hence, the need for a nanoparticulate drug delivery system. Metal organic frameworks (MOFs), an exciting development in the field of material chemistry and engineering, is deemed fit for this purpose because of their high design flexibility, surface area, porosity, thermal stability, and chemical composition. My PhD project aims to isolate some anti-cancer compounds from Aspergillus fumigatus, encapsulate these compounds within selected MOFs, and specifically target them to neuroblastoma cells.
In this contribution, I will highlight some MOFs that have been synthesized in our lab and how they can be used for targeted delivery in cancer treatment. I will also show that the filtrates from two species of Aspergillus fumigatus can kill neuroblastoma cells.
These results have provided the foundation needed for the further studies that will be carried out in this project. These studies will involve an exploration of ways to isolate which compound(s) present in the fungi filtrates is responsible for killing the neuroblastoma cells, and ways to optimize the already synthesized MOFs for better targeted delivery.