Nanoparticles in Cancer Radiation Therapy

 

The use of nanoparticles in radiation therapy offers some exciting possibilities. Radiation therapy, which has been used for years to treat cancer, can cause serious damage to the human body. Using nanoparticles it may be possible to destroy cancer tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissue and without the serious side effects often caused by radiation therapy treatments.

This page provides a survey of the nanotechnology based methods being developed to improve radiation therapy.

A Survey of Methods using Nanoparticles to improve Radiation Therapy

Researchers have developed  nanoparticles 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 bismuth nanoparticles 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.

X-ray therapy may be able to destroy cancer tumors using a nanoparticle called nbtxr3. The nbtxr3 nanoparticles, when activated by x-rays, generate electrons that cause the destruction of cancer tumors to which they have attached themselves. Click here for more details on this method. This is intended to be used in place of radiation therapy with much less damage to healthy tissue.  Nanobiotix and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are conducting clinical trials for this technique.

Reseachers at the University of Missouri are developing a nanoparticle that contains actinium, a radioactive element that emits alpha particles.

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.

 

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