'Smart' Nanocarriers to Fight Cancer

Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, anticancer drugs are delivered to patients in such a way that they can destroy both infected and healthy cells. But now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), in Singapore, have designed 'smart' nanocarriers which deliver the drugs exactly where they are needed, reducing side effects and suppressing cancer growth. Their core-shell nanoparticles are both sensitive to temperature — which has been done before — and to acidic levels. When these nanocarriers encounter acidic environments such as tumor tissues, they break apart and release the molecules they contain. So far, this technology has only been tested on mice, but the researchers have filed an application patent in the U.S., so expect to see practical applications in a few years. Read more for other details and references. [Additional note for purists: these nanocarriers are "smaller than 200 nm," which doesn't guarantee they fit within the strict definition of nanotechnology. However, if the Advanced Materials journal thinks these are nanoparticles, who am I to argue?]"

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