Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment
Nanotechnology cancer treatments may lead to destroying
cancer tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissue and organs, as well as the
detection and elimination of cancer cells before they form tumors.
Most efforts to improve cancer treatment through nanotechnology are at the
research or development stage. However there are many universities and companies
around the world working in this
The next section provides examples of the research underway, a few of the
methods discussed have reached the pre-clinical or clinical trial stage.
A targeted chemotherapy treatment under
development uses a nanoparticle called
The company developing this targeted chemotherapy method
is called Cerulean Pharma.
Researchers at the University of Georgia are working
on a method to fight prostate cancer. They are using
nanoparticles to deliver a molecule called IPA-3 to the
cancer cells. In laboratory mice studies the IPA-3
appears to reduce the
prostate cancer cells.
Researchers are testing the use of
chemotherapy drugs attached to
nanodiamonds to treat brain tumors. The nanodiamond/chemotherapy
drug combination stays in the tumor longer than the chemotherapy drug by
itself, which should increase the effectiveness.
For more see
Nanotechnology Cancer Treatments;
Another technique being developed works on destroying
cancer tumors by applying heat. Nanoparticles called
absorb infrared light from a laser, turning the light into heat. The
company developing this technique is called
Targeted heat therapy is being developed to destroy breast cancer tumors. In
this method antibodies that are strongly attracted to proteins produced in one
type of breast cancer cell are attached to nanotubes, causing the nanotubes to
accumulate at the tumor. Infrared light from a laser is absorbed by the
nanotubes and produces heat that incinerates the tumor.
Another method that targets individual cancer cells inserts gold
nanoparticles into the cells, then shines a laser on the
nanoparticles. The heat explodes the cancer cells.
For more details see
Cancer Heat Therapy
Nanotechnology Cancer Treatments;
Researchers have developed
containing a radioactive core with attached molecules that attach to lymphoma tumor cells.
The researchers are designing this method to stop the spread of cancer
from the primary tumor.
Researchers are investigating the use of
to concentrate radiation used in radiation therapy to treat cancer tumors.
Initial results indicate that the bismuth nanoparticles would increase the
radiation dose to the tumor by 90 percent.
A method to make radiation therapy more effect in fighting prostate
cancer is using radioactive gold nanoparticles attached to a molecule
that is attracted to
prostate tumor cells. Researchers believe that this method will help
concentrate the radioactive nanoparticles at the cancer tumors, allowing
treatment of the tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissue.
For more details see
Cancer Radiation Therapy
Nanotechnology Cancer Treatments; Miscellaneous
Reseachers have demonstrated a nanoparticle that
kills lymphoma cancer cells. They use a nanoparticle which looks
like HDL cholesterol, but with a gold nanoparicle at it's core. When
this nanoparticle attaches to a lymphoma cell it blocks the cancer
cell from attaching to real HLD cholesterol,
Researchers have demonstrated a method of
delivering a protein to cancer cells that destroys the cancer cells.
They use a polymer
nanoshell to deliver the protein into the cancer cells. When the
protein accumlates in the nucleus of the cancer cell the protein
causes the cancer cell to self-destruct.
A method being developed to fight skin cancer uses gold nanoparticles to
which RNA molecules are attached. The nanoparticles are in an ointment
that is applied to the skin. The nanoparticles penetrate the skin and
the RNA attaches to a
cancer related gene, stopping the gene from generating proteins that
are used in the growth of skin cancer tumors.
Delivery of short interfering RNAs (siRNA) is interesting because siRNA simply
stops the cancer tumor from growing and there is the potential to tailor
synthetic siRNA to the version of cancer in a individual patient. For more
details read the article at this link.
A method to increase the number of cancer fighting immune cells in cancer tumors is interesting. Nanoparticles
containing drug molecules called
interleukins are attached to immune cells ( T-cells). The idea is that when
the T-cells reach a tumor the nanoparticles release the drug molecules, which
cause the T-cells to reproduce. If enough T-cells are reproduced in the cancer
tumor the cancer can be destroyed. This method has been tested on laboratory
mice with very good results.
Magnetic nanoparticles that attach to cancer cells in the blood
stream may allow the cancer cells to
be removed before they establish new tumors. For more details read the
article at this
Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and
Nanotechnology and IBM researchers have demonstrated
sustained drug delivery
using a hydrogel. The hydrogel is injected under the skin, allowing
continuous drug release for weeks, with only one injection, rather than
repeated injections. They demonstrated this method by injecting the
hydrogel, containing the chemotherapy drug herceptin, under the skin of
laboratory mice. The study showed significant reduction in tumor size.
Using gold nanoparticles to deliver platinum to cancer tumors may reduce the
side effects of platinum cancer therapy. The key is that the toxicity level of
platinum depends upon the molecule it is bonded to (for the tech types the
toxicity depends upon the oxidation state of the platinum). So the researchers
chose a platinum containing molecule that has low toxicity to attach to the gold
nanoparticles. When the platinum bearing nanoparticle reaches a cancer tumor it
encounters an acidic solution which changes the platinum to it's toxic state, in
which it can kill cancer cells. For more details read the article at this
Other researchers are taking a different approach to delivering platinum to
cancer tumors. Instead of attaching platinum to nanoparticles they have used
molecular building blocks to produce nanoparticles designed to deliver platinum
to cancer tumors. For more details read the article at this
Iron oxide nanoparticles can be used to improve MRI images of cancer tumors. The nanoparticle is coated with a peptide that binds to a cancer tumor.
Once the nanoparticles are attached to the tumor, the magnetic property of the
iron oxide enhances the
images from the Magnetic Resonance Imagining scan.
Sensors based upon nanoparticles or nanowires can detect proteins related to
specific types of cancer cells in blood samples. This could allow early
detection of cancer. T2 Biosystems uses superparamagnetic nanoparticles
that bind to the cancer indicating protein and cluster together. These clusters
provide a magnetic resonance signal indicating the
presence of the cancer related protein. For another approach researchers at John Hopkins
University use quantum dots and molecules that emit a fluorescent glow to
detect DNA strands that are
early indicators of
Researchers at UC San Diego are developing a method to
collect and analyze
sized exosomes to check for biomarkers indicating
Cancer Treatments using
Nanotechnology: Company Directory
||Gold nanoparticles for targeted
delivery of drugs to tumors
||Nanoparticles for the targeted delivery of siRNA to cancer tumors
Nanotechnology Cancer Treatment Companies