Treatment of cancer with novel biosilica based drug-delivery vehicles

Unlike 30 years ago, cancer is now often curable. However, this is not the case for all cancers. Metastatic disease continues to cause a large number of deaths each year. For example, 90% of people diagnosed with stage I or II colon cancer will live for >5 years. But for stage IV (metastatic) colon cancer, this figure is only 10%. Furthermore, several adult cancers have poor outcomes, even in the absence of metastatic disease. These include pancreatic cancer, certain brain cancers such as high-grade glioma and lung cancer. Finally, although certain paediatric cancers (e.g. neuroblastoma) have cure rates >50%, many children still die, and those who survive often have severe long-term problems caused by the treatment.

Hence, new therapeutic modalities are needed to effectively treat metastatic cancer and highly lethal cancers such as brain cancer, to reduce the burden of cancer on the Australian healthcare system. Many questions must be answered if we wish to move this approach into the clinic. First, the optimal dosing schedule must be determined and the efficacy of biosilica particles confirmed in additional models. Second, the biodistribution of these particles is unknown. It is vital to determine the uptake in normal tissue such as liver.

The overall aim of this project is therefore to determine the optimal dosing schedule, biodistribution and in vivo efficacy of biosilica particles in a range of xenograft models.