Date of Award

7-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Bioengineering

Advisor

Alexis, Frank

Committee Member

Whitehead , Daniel C

Committee Member

Simionescu , Agneta

Committee Member

Kraveka , Jacqueline

Abstract

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. A neuroblastoma tumor develops in the nerve tissue and is diagnosed in infants and children.1 Approximately 10.2 per million children under the age of 15 are affected in the United States and is slightly more common in boys.1,2 Neuroblastoma constitutes 6% of all childhood cancers and has a long-term survival rate of only 15%.2-4 There are approximately 700 new cases of neuroblastoma each year in the United States. With such a low rate of survival, the development of more effective treatment methods is necessary. A number of therapies are available for the treatment of these tumors; however, clinicians and their patients face the challenges of systemic side effects and drug resistance of the tumor cells. The application of nanoparticles has the potential to provide a safer and more effective method of delivery drugs to tumors.5 The advantage of using nanoparticles for drug delivery is the ability to specifically or passively target tumors while reducing the harmful side effects of chemotherapeutics. Drug delivery via nanoparticles can also allow for lower dosage requirements with controlled release of the drugs, which can further reduce systemic toxicity. The aim of this research was to develop a polymeric nanoparticle drug delivery system for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma. Nanoparticles composed of a poly(lactic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol) block copolymer were formulated to deliver a non-toxic drug in combination with Temozolomide, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug for the treatment of neuroblastoma. The non-toxic drug acts as an inhibitor to the DNA-repair protein present in neuroblastoma cells that is responsible for inducing drug resistance in the cells, which would potentially allow for enhanced temozolomide activity. A variety of studies were completed to prove the nanoparticles' low toxicity, loading abilities, and uptake into cells. Additionally, studies were performed to determine the individual effect on cell toxicity of each drug and in combination. Finally, nanoparticles were loaded with the non-toxic drug and delivered with free temozolomide to determine the overall efficacy of the drugs in reducing neuroblastoma cell viability.

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Engineering Commons

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