A new nanotechnology method for delivering a toxic compound only to cancer cells is reported here:
Researchers believe the remarkably versatile "nanoclinic" has the potential to be adapted for treating numerous cancers and other diseases, as well as drug-delivery and diagnostic applications, and for nonmedical applications, such as use in cosmetic and skin-care products.
The magnetic nanoclinic is a thin silica bubble, the surface of which can be customized using a peptide carrier group to selectively target cancer cells. Inside the bubble are ferromagnetic nanoparticles that exhibit a strong inclination to align in the direction of a magnetic field.
The researchers foresee patients receiving the nanoclinics—which would be taken up by cancer cells but not normal cells and tissue—intravenously or by injection at the tumor site. They then would undergo an MRI procedure that would "switch on" the destructive capability of the particles, causing the membranes of cancer cells to rupture.
In a scientific paper in press with Biomedical Microdevices, the UB and Nanobiotix scientists describe how magnetic nanoclinics, less than 70 nanometers in diameter, can selectively destroy human breast and ovarian cancer cells in vitro when a magnetic field is applied. Studies are under way in animals aimed at demonstrating the selective uptake of nanoclinics by tumor cells.
What isn't clear from this is just how exactly are they getting the magnetic nanoclinic to be taken up only by the cancer cells. Have they solved that problem in a way that will work across a large assortment of different types of cancers? Do they need to get a sample from each tumor of each cancer sufferer and then look for a unique surface protein to build a binding peptide to match it? That strikes me as the hardest part of the problem.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2002 November 14 12:27 AM Nanotech for Biotech|