So glad to see my alma mater joining the club of schools doing beautiful nanotech research against cancer: “Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed. MIT researchers have designed a nanoparticle to do just that…
“The team loaded the outer membrane of the nanocell with an anti-angiogenic drug and the inner balloon with chemotherapy agents. A ‘stealth’ surface chemistry allows the nanocells to evade the immune system, while their size (200 nanometers) makes them preferentially taken into the tumor. They are small enough to pass through tumor vessels, but too large for the pores of normal vessels.
“Once the nanocell is inside the tumor, its outer membrane disintegrates, rapidly deploying the anti-angiogenic drug. The blood vessels feeding the tumor then collapse, trapping the loaded nanoparticle in the tumor, where it slowly releases the chemotherapy…Eighty percent of the nanocell mice survived beyond 65 days, while mice treated with the best current therapy survived 30 days. Untreated animals died at 20.”
This kind of work is excellent news for those of us who’ve had a relative or good friend go through today’s chemo — which is probably almost everyone reading this.–CP (Credit: Alan Shalleck, Nanoclarity)