New Nano-"Motherships" Help Further the Microscopic War on Cancer
September 16, 2008 10:15 AM
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A rendition of the special lipid nanoparticle, the inside is composed of a mixture of superparamagnetic iron particles, fluorescent quandum dots and anti-cancer drugs. The lipid structure is coated with F3, a special cancer-seeking protein, to help it home in on cancer cells and deliver its payload.
(Source: Ji-Ho Park, UCSD)
Like a stealth jet, new nanoparticles evade the body's defenses while delivering chemical markers and lethal toxins to cancer tumors
Studying and developing treatments for cancer is possibly one of the most publicized fields in medical science in current times. There has been a deluge of new and promising treatments recently using
nano- and macro-scale particles
to, via the bloodstream,
deliver anti-tumor drugs
or anti-tumor weapons directly to the site of cancerous growths.
Building on past breakthroughs with these microscopic particles as drug ferries, a group of researchers from UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and MIT will shortly
publish new work
with a refined lipid-based transport system. While it is not the first lipid-based particle, it may be the first to be as robust as the researchers claim.
The specially engineered lipid structure, instead of simply carrying a toxin or heat bomb to cancer cells, is actually a multi-purpose unit. Coated with F3, a special cancer bloodhound protein, and filled with various imaging components (superparamagnetic iron nanoparticles for NMRIs and fluorescent “quantum dots” for fluorescence imaging) and anti-cancer drugs (doxorubicin), the tiny “motherships” were shown to evade the body's aggressive immune system for several hours while ferreting out cancer cells and delivering their payloads.
The structure is among the first to pack imaging and cancer killers in the same package. The success surprised even the researchers. Michael Sailor, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSD who headed the team of chemists, biologists and engineers, states, "The fact that the ships can carry very dissimilar payloads—a magnetic nanoparticle, a fluorescent quantum dot, and a small molecule drug—was a real surprise."
the Germany-based chemistry journal
The team is continuing to explore the possibilities of specialized coatings for the lipid transports. They are looking to develop more proteins that will seek out certain types of tumors or organs in the body and deliver their tailored cargo to those sites.
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RE: something scares me
9/16/2008 12:51:49 PM
I believe the article said "the tiny “motherships” were shown to evade the body's aggressive immune system for several hours while ferreting out cancer cells and delivering their payloads."
Key words "several hours", remember, these things were coated with chemicals that helped them target the cancer cells. Ever catch a cold that lasts for weeks. Don't you think that bug is evading our immune system much longer than a few hours? Even though one must still take into account that a virus reproduces, but this newly developed treatment does not.
RE: something scares me
9/16/2008 1:00:16 PM
Don't you think that bug is evading our immune system much longer than a few hours?
In some ways yes, but most often one of the reasons you get weak is because your body IS fighting the bug.... if that bug is able to completely evade the immune system, that means it has the potential to do it's harm without being bothered for several hours. Which could mean it can not infect more of your body faster then before. And then by the time your body reacts, it is already to late.
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