We have successfully developed an innovative nanocarrier derived from green tea catechins, which can deliver anti-cancer drugs in a targeted and effective fashion. We created a synergistic formulation of the nanocarrier with an anti-cancer drug. This unique formulation greatly enhanced the efficacy of the anti-cancer drug in experimental models to prevent tumours from growing and multiplying, while greatly decreasing the toxicity usually associated with normal regimens of the drug.  

A typical drawback of nanocarriers for cancer therapy is their low drug-loading capacities, meaning an increased dosage or frequency of administration is required in order to achieve the desired treatment effects. However, this risks toxicity caused by the nanocarrier and related undesired side effects. In contrast, elevating the drug loading runs the risk of causing nanocarrier instability, which in turn leads to low efficacy and off-target toxicity. Therefore, we employed the strategy of using nanocarriers with intrinsic therapeutic effects, synergistically augmenting the anti-cancer drug’s efficacy and decreasing emphasis on the drug-to-carrier ratio. 

The anti-cancer benefits of consuming green tea are controversial due to its low bioavailability. A known antioxidant found in green tea, called epigallocatechin-3-Ogallate (EGCG), is required in large doses in order to prevent cancer as it passes through the body rapidly. Also, we would stress that the work has the potential to greatly alleviate the toxicity associated with normal regimens of the anti-cancer drug and by using the novel nanocarrier, we can achieve very strong tumour growth inhibition using lower dosages of the anticancer drug compared to conventional treatments. We are confident that this breakthrough will address many of the difficulties associated with traditional drug delivery systems, and lead to improved quality of life and prolonged survival rates for cancer patients.

Green Tea Could Help Scientists Develop New Cancer Fighting Drugs, MailOnline (5 October 2014)