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Sticky nanoparticles find tumor cells where they can be used to release drugs straight to the culprit

Building on past research with sticky nanoparticles, scientists at MIT have developed a method of delivering drugs straight to tumor cells. Previously the particles, which flow discretely through the bloodstream adhering only to tumorous cells, helped visualize tumors via magnetic resonance imaging. Now, using electromagnetic wave pulses, the same particles could be used to bomb the tumor cells with drugs.

The researches found that they could use the superparamagnetic properties of certain nanoparticles to activate, or in this case destroy, bonds holding drug molecules to the particles. Superparamagenetic materials have the property of giving off heat when exposed to a magnetic field.

The researchers used low-frequency wave pulses with frequencies between 350 and 400 kilohertz. These frequencies are much lower than much-feared microwaves, and pass harmlessly through the body, affecting only the nanoparticle delivery vehicles.

The microscopic drug tethers are made from strands of DNA. What makes the DNA molecule a good choice is that it can be created to melt with different amounts of heat based on strand lengths and coding. This could allow each particle to have several kinds of drug molecules attached to it, thus safely customizing treatment by simply modulated the pulse's frequency.

Though tests in the lab involving mice and implanted faux-tumors saturated with the drug bomb nanoparticles have been successful, the team of researchers is still doing work to guarantee that enough of the drug-ferrying particles will clump together inside of a tumor naturally to be effective.

"Our overall goal is to create multi-functional nanoparticles that home to a tumor, accumulate, and provide customizable remotely activated drug delivery right at the site of the disease," said Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D, an associate professor at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology and MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

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RE: Nanotech
By Misty Dingos on 11/20/2007 3:25:35 PM , Rating: 3
Bitter, jaded, and sad you are. You may choose to hide behind the facade of realism but the ugly reality is that you believe that there are people that won't cure a disease for a buck or euro.

What you are ignorant of is how difficult it is to cure a disease like AIDS or any one of the hundreds of forms of cancer there are.

Trying to equate the fight against polio to that of HIV highlights your ignorance. Polio was a walk in the pharmaceutical park compared to AIDS. And because I am nice I will help you out.

Here is that polio process in a nutshell. "Hey if we put some dead virus into people their own immune system might respond and when they do get infected they might have a chance since the immune system has seen it before!" Oh the guy that got this idea didn’t even get the Nobel Prize. And the good news is what kids? He didn’t cure polio he prevented it. When did they identify the polio virus? 1908. Over 40 years to get an effective immunization. Not a cure by the way. What no cure? That can’t be true? People don’t die from polio in your world because in the kindler gentler old days (circa 1952) pharmaceutical firms believed in curing people. Know what happens if you get polio today? The same thing that happened in 1908 or for that matter 1108, you get sick and hope you don’t end up paralyzed or dead. How many cases of polio identified last year? Over 600, and this is a disease they have been trying to eradicate for decades.

Let's try this with HIV. Oh wait? It uses the immune system to infect victims. I guess that polio method won't work here. Back to the drawing board then. Just don’t work too fast though because there are so few diseases that need treatments and cures. (that last sentence is intended to be sarcastic)

It takes human imagination and perseverance to cure diseases like AIDS and cancer. Computers will help and all the knowledge of the human genome won't hurt but until the researchers understand the total disease process it is going to be a trial and error game.

So my advice to you is get your ignorant ass in a class and learn something about diseases and their cure and treatment before you paint an entire industry with a brush best used on people like Mengele.

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