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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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RE: Hell of a weapon...
By MozeeToby on 5/26/2010 3:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
Stephenson is weirdly prophetic sometimes...

Taken from Diamond Age refering to one a famous character within the story. "One summer, as he was living in Ames [Iowa] and working as a research assistant in a solid-state physics lab, the city was actually turned into an island for a couple of days by an immense flood. Along with many other Midwesterners, Finkle-McGraw put in a few weeks building levees out of sandbags and plastic sheeting. Once again he was struck by the national media coverage - reporters from the coasts kept showing up and announcing, with some bewilderment, that there had been no looting."

I read that passage for the first time living in Iowa during the summer of 2008, when the Cedar River flooded to 12 feet above it's previous record, inundating a larger land area than hurricane Katrina did. And sure enough, the newscasters were amazed at how orderly, calm, and (relatively) efficient things were handled. It was only through the efforts of a small army of volunteers that hospitals and other essential services were kept operational, and there was a grand total of one death attributed to the disaster.

Stephenson's point was that some cultures handle extreme events better than others, and having lived through extreme events in the Midwest and watching how other areas handle similar events I can't say I disagree with him.


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