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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 biotech on 11/20/2007 9:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
Buddy! Dude! Your ignorance is astounding. I am not sure where you get your facts but let me try and set a few things straight. There is no cure for Polio, Small Pox or Measles. We have vaccinations against them. A vaccination is not a cure, it is a prevention measure which creates memory B and T plasma cells which will destroy the virus the next time you are exposed to it. All vaccines are attenuated or de-activated viruses or viral capsid proteins. If you get vaccinated after an exposure to a virus the vaccine is not going to do you any good.

No virus has a cure, at least not yet. Developing a vaccine for the HIV is no easy task, especially since it is a retrovirus and has a high mutation rate. The mutations lead to different surface viral antigens and the virus evades the host immune system. Even if I made a vaccine today, tomorrow there will a new mutation rendering the vaccine ineffective.

Yes why don't you tell us how many drugs an AIDS patient needs to take daily? AIDS is not the same things as having HIV. Once someone has AIDS their immune system is rendered useless and no drug can solve that problem. HIV positive people are give a triple cocktail of nucleoside analogues, reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. All of which inhibit viral replication at a different replication pathway, even then their are HIV strains that have mutated to these treatments and in some people the treatment is not effective.

Obviously you are not very well versed in molecular biology or biochemistry yet here you are making these accusations. If it's so easy why don't you go find a cure!

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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