Pancreatic cancer is a highly fatal disease with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 10% in the USA, and it is becoming an increasingly common cause of cancer mortality. The intrinsic and acquired drug resistance frequently leads to treatment failure, suggesting critical needs for additional drugs to improve disease outcome. Moreover, the drug targets are not only cancer cells but also healthy cells, thus causing serious adverse side effects. That way, there is a search for new therapeutic strategies such as, for example, natural products. Propolis is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial actions, and has shown cytotoxic activity against many types of cancer, the most interesting in Brazil being Brazilian green propolis (BGP) and Brazilian red propolis (BRP). However, its use may be limited due to unfavorable physico-chemical properties, such as low water solubility, instability, low bioavailability and short half-life and the nanoencapsulation can become an interesting strategy to improve the chemical stability of drugs and its bioavailability in the in vitro and in-vivo environment. Thus, this project aims at the development and characterization, for the first time, of polymeric nanoparticles containing BGP and BRP and their biological evaluation in vitro and in vivo in a pancreatic cancer model. The extracts will be characterized by UPLC-PDA-MS. The nanoparticles will be prepared using the nanoprecipitation method and will be characterized by different techniques, and subsequently evaluated in different types of pancreatic tumor cell lines (PANC1, AsPC1 and BxPC3) as well as in the mice xenograft model. This study is innovative and will contribute to the understanding of the action of propolis-based nanostructured systems in pancreatic cancer, in addition to providing the student with an excellent experience with new techniques and analysis, by improving knowledge and expanding the research line of our group in Brazil.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: