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New way to kill lymphoma without chemotherapy
Date:1/21/2013

CHICAGO --- How do you annihilate lymphoma without using any drugs?

Starve it to death by depriving it of what appears to be a favorite food: HDL cholesterol.

Northwestern Medicine researchers discovered this with a new nanoparticle that acts like a secret double agent. It appears to the cancerous lymphoma cell like a preferred meal -- natural HDL. But when the particle engages the cell, it actually plugs it up and blocks cholesterol from entering. Deprived of an essential nutrient, the cell eventually dies.

A new study by C. Shad Thaxton, M.D., and Leo I. Gordon, M.D. shows that synthetic HDL nanoparticles killed B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of the disease, in cultured human cells, and inhibited human B-cell lymphoma tumor growth in mice.

The paper will be published Jan. 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This has the potential to eventually become a nontoxic treatment for B-cell lymphoma which does not involve chemotherapy," said Gordon, a co-corresponding author with Thaxton on the paper. "It's an exciting preliminary finding."

Gordon is a professor of medicine in hematology/oncology and Thaxton is an assistant professor of urology, both at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Gordon also is co-director of the hematologic malignancy program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Thaxton is also a member of the Lurie Cancer Center.

Lymphoma Gobbles HDL Cholesterol

Recent studies have shown that B-cell lymphoma is dependent on the uptake of natural HDL -- short for high-density lipoprotein -- from which it derives fat content, such as cholesterol.

The nanoparticle -- originally developed by Thaxton as a possible therapy for heart disease -- closely mimics the size, shape and surface chemistry of natural HDL
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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