Single shot of nanospheres: complete tumor elimination

Kevin Bullis of brings us word of an MIT/Harvard collaboration on treating prostate cancer in mice just published in PNAS:

“A single treatment of drug-bearing nanoparticles effectively destroys prostate cancer tumors in mice, according to experiments by researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School. This approach could lead to powerful treatments without the side effects associated with cancer therapy, say the scientists.

” ‘We did a single injection of the particles, and then followed the tumor for the next 109 days, and showed that we basically had complete tumor elimination,’ says Omid Farokhzad, assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, who, along with Robert Langer, chemical engineering professor at MIT, led the research. Because the ingredients used to make the nanoparticle drug system have already been okayed by the FDA for other purposes, the researchers hope to win quick approval for testing the new technology in humans…

“The MIT-Harvard researchers are also working on targeting pancreatic cancer and eventually breast cancer and cardiovascular disease…

“Eventually, the MIT-Harvard researchers hope to design nanoparticles that can be injected into the bloodstream, from which they could seek out cancer cells anywhere in the body, making it possible to treat late-stage metastasized cancer.”

There’s just more and more good news on near-term nanotech beating cancer. This makes it increasingly easy to make the case for the even-greater promise of longer-term nanosystems for medicine.

One part of the article distressed me: “Early toxicity trials of the nanoparticles could begin in two years, if further animal studies go well…” When something is this promising, why can’t we do these things in parallel, starting now? —Christine

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