Nanomedicine in Cancer

Karen Liby, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State University


Despite tremendous progress in our understanding of the biology of cancer, the translation of these advances into a clinical benefit has not kept pace, as the number of deaths from cancer remain unacceptably high. However, rapid advancements in nanomedicine provide opportunities to improve cancer treatments. The advantages, limitations, and mechanism of action of nanomedicines for cancer will be reviewed. FDA approved drugs based on nanotechnologies as well as drugs currently being evaluated in the clinic will be discussed. In our studies, we are using two novel delivery platforms for Talazoparib, a potent PARP inhibitor. This drug has shown promising clinical activity in breast and ovarian cancers with germline Brca1/2 mutations by inducing synthetic lethality. Conventional oral delivery of Talazoparib is associated with significant off-target effects. T-NanoTalazoparib is a nanoparticle formulation that includes polymer brushes that prolong the circulation time and enable preferential uptake in the tumor through the Enhanced Permeability and Retention effect. The other delivery platform, INCeT-Talazoparib, uses poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) implants loaded with subclinical doses of Talazoparib to provide sustained release of the drug over time when placed in the breast. Our results demonstrate that localized and sustained delivery of Talazoparib via these novel platforms has the potential to provide superior treatment outcomes with minimal toxicity in patients with BRCA-deficient tumors.

Karen Liby, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Pharmacology & Toxicology at Michigan State University.   Her interests include inflammation, cancer and drug development.  Her laboratory studies the role of inflammation in cancer, as well as develops and tests new drugs for the prevention or treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases. Lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and a subset of breast cancer (estrogen receptor negative or ER-) are three of the leading causes of cancer death, and the lab therefore uses the most relevant mouse models available of these diseases to study the development of these cancers and to test new drugs.