Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignant head and neck cancer that is common in Southern China and Southeast Asia, which characterized by its hidden location and easy to forming distant metastasis.The early distant metastasis of NPC are the key reasons for the failure of treatments, while targeted therapies offer hope for extending survival. Prof. Zhihong Zhang’s research group from Britton Chance Center for Biomedical Photonics, Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics-Huazhong University of Science and Technology, developed simple, robust, and NPC-specific therapeutic lipid nanoparticles based on a fusion peptide. They found that the fusion peptide α-NTP, synthesized by an NPC-specific therapeutic peptide (LTVSPWYLTVSPWY) conjugated to an amphipathic α-helical peptide (FAEKFKEAVKDYFAKFWD), displayed multiple functions including ultra-small nanostructure-controlling ability, NPC-targeting as well as specific killing ability, etc. The lipid nanoparticles based on α-NTP (termed as α-NTP-LN) can be selectively target to NPC cells, and exerted cytotoxicity by inducing cell death via apoptosis and autophagy. The imaging and therapeutic study has shown that the α-NTP-LN displayed targeted imaging capability for tumor by high contrast, and specific therapeutic efficacy with minimal toxicity after systemic administration in a NPC tumor animal model. Notable, the α-NTP-LN could significantly inhibited the form of tumor metastasis, thus resulting in prolonged animal survival.
This study is published in ACS Nano (IF 12.06) (Nasopharyngeal Cancer-Specific Therapy Based on Fusion Peptide-Functionalized Lipid Nanoparticles, ACS Nano. 8(5) 4334–4347, 2014). Moreover, we have applied for an international PCT patent (PCT/CN2013/000680) via its core innovative content “ One peptide possessing the ability of synergistic targeting and theranostics for NPC, nanoparticles based on this peptide and their application”, and this patent was thought to has the novelty, creativity, as well as industrial applicability in the PCT retrieval report. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2011CB910401), Science Fund for Creative Research Group of China (Grant No.61121004), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81172153), National Science and Technology Support Program of China (Grant No. 2012BAI23B02), and the seed project of WNLO.