In warfare, victory often rests on two key aspects of combat: good battlefield intel and a versatile mix of weaponry to counter various threats. But when it comes to battling cancer, physicians often work with little real-time information and a collection of single-facet treatments, many of which cannot be used in tandem. Now, researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine are attempting to tip the scales back in physicians' favor, creating a single nanoparticle that can seek out cancer cells, tag them with fluorescent dye, and kill them, all while physicians look on via real-time MRI tracking.
The treatment takes advantage of nanoshells, particles first created over a decade ago that can convert normally harmless laser light into tumor-slaying heat. The researchers wanted to add additional weaponry to the nanoshells, so they added a fluorescent dye that glows to near-infrared light. They found that the dye molecules worked better when separated from the surface of the nanoshell by just a few nanometers, so they inserted an iron oxide layer that's visible to MRI between the dye molecules and the nanoshells. For good measure, they then attached an antibodies to these multi-tasking nanoshells that allow them to bind to breast and ovarian cancer cells.
The result is a cancer-fighting weapons system that can seek, identify and destroy an offending tumor. By tailoring the antibodies for the patient's particular cancer, doctors can inject a battalion of nanoparticles into the bloodstream and let them seek out tumors. The particles can then home in on problem areas and destroy tumors with heat.
While human trials have not yet begun, they are likely not too far away because all aspects of the treatment are already individually moving through the FDA approval process, which means they all already have solid records of efficacy. The next step will be getting the nanoshells out of laboratory cell cultures and into animal testing. If all goes well, physicians might be launching tailored nano-assaults on deadly cancers within a relatively short time.
Relatively short in the medical world meaning around 20 years or so, of course. But I really shouldn't knock this awesome advancement.
I like the idea of treatments being done with out surgery. Bad things happen when you have to open up the body with a knife.
The first mistake of western health is to consider our body a battlefield like bombing the enemy first and than asking about consistance, etc. Still they do not know what is cancer and where it is originated from and nano wouldnt change that at all. Our bodies are of assimilation and not of defense, to break the first myth created by a treatment industry.
To find the elements giving ground to such bacterial deseases intentionally described as cancer there is no interest of the science financing club, 80% of all junk products would disapear and the big business around cancer too.
Nanotech and under my view is a big evolutionary step, lets wait how the 1 million bacteria tribes are reacting living permanently within the human body in coexistance. While than remain sceptical and dont wait miracles of bio or biotech until proven. The problem to be resolved first is not the destination of nanobots but not to harm millions of other processes going on. Programming such is equal to space travel, where we know 10% and 90% remains at risk.
It is so amazing that some of the technology was saw as kids on science fiction shows are now becoming reality. Back then it seemed so far fetched and for me that was only 25 years ago. Anything we can do to fight cancer is a great thing!
Nice idea,I like it.
This is a great development but it can be a dangerous one. If the nano bots can fight cancer they can be programed to fight anything. It could turn into a very upsetting weapon.
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