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 1:42:47 PM
Well I don't know the exact specifics on this drug. But I can say some of the big reasons would be that bombs destroy buildings and create a huge mess that at some point has to be cleaned up. If you just kill the people, or even make them extremely ill, that would allow your army to roll into a city and push over it's human defenses. Then you would easily be able to take control of the city and it's resources without having to rebuild anything.
Also, lets not forget that bombs cost a lot of money to make and deliver. I'm faily sure it would be much easier and cheaper to poison a cities water/food supply.
And Finally if this can bypass the immune system, it makes it that much harder to make an antidote or something to fight it. I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that most immunity shots still rely on your bodies immune system to deliver and produce the antidote. If a virus can bypass that.... your screwed..... AIDS comes to mind as one such virus
RE: something scares me
9/16/2008 2:56:07 PM
It's not hard to filter large lipid 'cages' out of a water supply. And I bet these structures are fragile enough that just letting them loose out into the world wouldn't be that effective of a delivery method. Soap and water would probably break them open.
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