A team of researchers from Washington State University (WA, USA) has reported the development of a novel drug delivery system, incorporating curcumin, that stops bone cancer growth whilst simultaneously promoting the growth of healthy cells.
The study, published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, could be a step towards improved post-operative treatments for patients with osteosarcoma, reportedly the second most prevalent cause of cancer death in children.
In an effort to combat the harsh side effects associated with chemotherapy, typically administered before and after surgeries in cases of osteosarcoma, the team investigated the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, cancer preventative and bone-building capabilities of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric.
Curcumin is not well absorbed by the body when administered orally as the compound is metabolized and eliminated too quickly. Therefore, the team decided to experiment with alternative methods for drug delivery.
The study describes 3D printed calcium phosphate scaffolds incorporating encapsulated curcumin in a vesicle of fat molecules, allowing gradual release. The team reported the inhibition of osteosarcoma cells by 96% after 11 days, when compared to untreated samples. The team also reported promoted healthy bone cell growth.