Deoxygenating Nanoparticles Serve As Tumor Starving Agents

Image: Medical News Today

“As cancer cells need oxygen to survive, researchers have suffocated the tumor with the aid of nanoparticles by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor cells”

Researchers from Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the East China Normal University have developed a deoxygenation agent using polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) modified Magnesium Silicide (Mg2Si) nanoparticles as a good tumor-starving agent.

Their work is recently published in Nature Nanotechnology.

What Does The Agent Do?

This agent is pH sensitive, easily consumes oxygen and one of the products of oxygen consumption also forms aggregates which possibly blocks the blood vessels.

Some of the qualities for a good tumor-starving agent include:

  • Biocompatibility i.e. no heavy metals are being used or are the components.
  • Efficiency at deoxygenation.
  • Long-run oxygen scavenger.
  • Easier insertion and only target the tumor.

Magnesium silicide nanoparticles serves best as good tumor-starving agent. Its main constituent magnesium (Mg), silicon dioxide (SiO2), and water(H2O) are biocompatible.

Moreover, reaction mechanism produces a highly reactive oxygen scavenger and SiH4 makes these nanoparticles highly efficient during deoxygenation”

Preparation Method of Injectable Nanoparticles

The injectable nanoparticles were prepared through self-propagating high-temperature synthesis strategy which emphasizes that the deoxygenating agent will remain scattered in liquid without forming clusters so that it can be easily injectable into tissue.

“Researchers demonstrated the capability of Mg2Si nanoparticles by injecting it into mice”

 In vivo study found Mg2Si nanoparticles serving as an efficient deoxygenation agent.

Measurements in blood oxygen saturation level after 10 minutes showed a minute change in the control tumor, whereas a drastic reduction in oxygen was observed in the test.

The nanoparticles were capable enough for the reduction of oxygen in tested mice within three hours and showed complete removal of hemoglobin bound oxygen and blood oxygen within the infected cell.


Schematic diagram of MS NPs serving as an intratumoral DOA for specific cancer-starving therapy.


In addition, Mg2Si nanoparticles forms by-product which inhibits the reoxygenation in the tumoral capillaries i.e. the acidic environment in the tumor reacts with the nanoparticles to release silane as a by-product.

Silane’s reaction with the hemoglobin bound oxygen and tissue dissolved oxygen produces silicon oxide aggregates which in term becomes advantageous in blocking of the tumor from getting new oxygen and nutrients.

Future Research

Overall, this cancer research provides a fascinating clue for the use of PVP- modified Mg2Si nanoparticles as promising candidates for use as a tumor-targeted deoxygenating agent.

The team points out that the future research will be focused on the surface modification of the nanoparticles to customize their length of time for a longer travel through the blood streams.

Source Nature

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