Home > Uncategorized > Nanotechnology Fights Cancer Too?

Nanotechnology Fights Cancer Too?

One of the major problems with cancer treatments is that the drugs used to fight cancer cells can often harm healthy cells as well. Getting cancer treatment to kill the cancer without killing the patient has long proved a painful task. In separate research efforts, researchers at Purdue University and Polytechnique Montreal are taking advantage of advances in the technology-of-the-tiny to deliver cancer drugs directly to target cancerous cells.

W. Andy Tao, an associate professor of biochemistry analytical chemistry at Purdue University, wants to use nanotechnology to stop the physical trauma that accompany so many cancer treatments. .”Many cancer drugs are not very specific,” said Tao. “They target many different proteins. That can have a consequence – what we call side effects.”

Tao’s team has developed a nanopolymer that acts like a taxi; it drives the drugs directly through the cancer cells’ front doors. What’s more, Tao’s nanopolymer is designed to be attracted to tiny beads that help escort the nanopolymer and any attached proteins back out of the system when the job is done. Also, because the nanopolymers are water-soluble, they can help get non-water soluble drugs get to cells. Tao hopes his technology will eliminate the painful side effects that so often come along with cancer treatment.

Sylvain Martel and his team at Polytechnique Montreal have developed a device with a similar purpose. Martel’s team has successfully used an MRI system to remote-control microcarriers through a rabbit’s body to the cancer cells in its liver. The team placed a rabbit inside an MRI machine and, using a computerized remote control system based on magnets, successfully guided a microcarrier at a speed of 10 cm/s to cancer cells in the rabbit’s liver. Once there, the microcarrier released doxorubicin into the targeted part of the organ. Like Tao, Martel hopes this technology will help beat cancer while protecting healthy cells.

“Injection and control of nanorobots inside the human body, which contains nearly 100,000 kilometers of blood vessels, is a promising avenue that could enable interventional medicine to target sites that so far have remained inaccessible using modern medical instruments such as catheters,” Professor Martel explained.

Martel’s research team is developing a variety of micro- and nano-sized devices that can deliver medications to the sites of tumors. The smaller devices will be able to navigate smaller blood vessels.

Nanotech research offers medical advances in a wide array of areas. Scientists picture a future world in which tiny nanobots clear out clogged arteries and repair cells on the molecular level. If trends continue as they have, we will be seeing more microscopic robots breaking into the reality of our daily lives. The possibilities of curing terrible diseases is exciting. The possibilities of more sinister uses are more than a bit frightening. We’ll keep our eyes on these things as they progress.

Related Links:

Nanopolymer Helps Determine if Cancer Drugs Have Reached Desired Target – Daily Tech

Bursting MRSA’s Bubble: Using Nanotech to Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria – Scientific American

Nanotechnology Helps Enzymes Stay Active, Keep in Shape – Fars News

Localized Delivery Of An Anti-Cancer Drug By Remote-Controlled Microcarriers – Nanotech-Now

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