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Lasers and bombs in the same cancer-killing package!

"Photothermal Effects of Supramolecularly Assembled Gold Nanoparticles for the Targeted Treatment of Cancer Cells" is quite the mouthful. The recently published paper details work by University of California at Los Angeles on another nanoparticle bomb approach to destroying cancer cells.

DailyTech is ripe with examples of similar studies and projects using gold and other forms of nano and microparticles in combination with various electromagnetic radiations and cancer-fighting drugs and even viral drug delivery systems. Mose of these nanoparticle treatments use relatively simple soldiers, carbon nanotubes and the like, which makes the UCLA methods a little more unique.

Doctor Hsien-Rong Tseng's team instead uses self-assembling macromolecular particles. These particles react extremely quickly when irradiated with a light source, heating to in excess of 370 degrees Celcius. At 374 degrees, the heat causes explosive bubbles to form and these bubbles in turn burst and destroy cells in the area. This is the same approach used in a recent Rice University study, but builds further upon the premise.

The magic self-assembly involves two-nanometer gold particles, cyclodextrin, adamantane, polyethyleneimine, and polyethylene glycol. The gold particles are first littered with adamantane. Cyclodextrin and more adamantane are then combined with the biocompatible polymers, polyethyleneimine and polyethylene glycol respectively. The two molecules self-assemble into complex structures with the doctored gold particles and a new, supramolecular bomb is born.

During the study, the structures attached themselves to tumor cells via specialized tumor-targeting molecules. The researchers then excited them with laser beams. They quickly obliterated any nearby cancer cells. They further tested the structures on cells lacking the receptor to which the targeting molecules adhere. These tests showed that cancer-less cells remained relatively unharmed. Tests with gold nanoparticles lacking the superstructure clearly showed that the engineered molecules were far superior at their seek and destroy missions.

An abstract of the previously mentioned paper can be found here. More information on the study should be forthcoming on the National Cancer Institute's website.

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Needs lasers?
By Chernobyl68 on 5/26/2010 12:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
So, they've come up with a new treatment for Skin Cancer, or am I reading this wrong? What type of cacncer is this good for?

RE: Needs lasers?
By LeviBeckerson on 5/26/2010 12:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
The system was tested on brain cancer tumors if I recall correctly. The information given wasn't clear on what kind of laser was used or if it would be effective at interior levels beyond skin on a living body.

I plan to pursue this information though, and will publish an update if I can acquire it.

RE: Needs lasers?
By docawolff on 5/26/2010 12:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
You should be able to attack inoperable tumors with this technique. The nanoparticles allow you to selectively kill cancer cells, leaving vital healthy tissue intact. Much better than a scalpel. It would probably take several treatments to completely remove a tumor.

RE: Needs lasers?
By sleepeeg3 on 5/26/2010 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
It is a good point, because you still have to irradiate the area to 374 degrees so that is likely going to kill some healthy tissues or make it impractical internal skin cancers.

RE: Needs lasers?
By Fracture on 5/26/2010 4:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
A very important question to ask is "what other types of cells have the same receptors as cancer cells" - accidental exposure to the laser as the patient is treated could lead to degeneration of healthy tissue.

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