Role of Nanotechnology in Curing Cancer
Cancer tumors are unhealthy cells, and we know them as Cancer cells. However, others are healthy tissue and organs. The trick is definitely to destroy these cancer tumors before they grow into the tumor and meanwhile ensuring minimal damage. However, the majority of efforts for improving cancer treatment are under research and development stage. Though, you will find many universities as well as companies where the work is going on in this field of study.
The next few paragraphs are going to provide you the examples of researches underway, and some of them have reached the pre-clinical or clinical trial stage as well. In the process, you will also understand the role of nanotechnology in curing Cancer.
One of the chemotherapy treatments under development uses a nanoparticle known as CRLX101. And this method has been developed by Cerulean Pharma.
Various researchers at the University of Georgia are finding a solution to fight Prostate Cancer. And they are using the nanoparticles for delivering a molecule known as the IPA-3 to the Cancer cells. And they have found through the laboratory mice studies that IPA-3 can check the growth of prostate Cancer cells.
There is a chemotherapy drug attached to nanodiamond, which researchers are using to treat the brain tumors. The nanodiamond/chemotherapy drug combination is found to stay in the tumor longer than the chemotherapy drugs by self.
There is another technique that is being developed and works on destroying the Cancer tumors, and that uses the heat. The Nanoparticles known as the Auroshells can absorb the infrared light from the laser, and they in the process turns the light into heat. This research is being carried out by Nanospectra.
There is one targeted heat therapy, and in this method, the antibodies being strongly attracted to the protein, which is found in cancer cells, are attached to the nanotubes, and that accumulates the nanotubes at the tumor area. The infra light from the laser is being absorbed by the nanotubes, and that produces the heat which incinerates the tumor.
One method uses the gold nanoparticles, and inserts the Gold Nanoparticles into the individual cancer cells, and then shines the laser on those nanoparticles. Finally, the heat destroys the cancer cells.
Cancer Treatment through Radiation
The researchers have developed the nanoparticles that contain the radioactive core with attached molecules, which is being attached to the lymphoma tumor cells. And this method will be used to stop cancer from spreading from the primary tumor.
And then there is Bismuth Nanoparticle that concentrates the radiation used in the radiation therapy and can increase the radiation dose to the tumor by around 90 percent.
The same type of treatment is used to cure prostate cancer. And in that, the gold nanoparticle, which is radioactive in nature and attached to a molecule is attracted to the prostate cancer cells. What is required is to increase the concentration of the gold nanoparticle at the cancer tumor location, and that ensures the treatment of the tumors with the minimal damage around, and meanwhile curing cancer as well.
Researchers have also found a nanoparticle that kills lymphoma cancer cells. They use the nanoparticles that look similar to the HDL Cholesterol, however, they have the gold nanoparticles located at the core. And when this one is attached to the lymphoma cell, then it blocks the cancer cells from attaching to the real HLD cholesterol and hence starve the cancer cells.
There is another technique developed by a group of researchers in which the protein is being delivered to the cancer cells, and that destroys them. They make the use of the polymer nanoshell for delivering the protein into the cancer cells. And when the protein is collected at the nucleus of the cancer cells the protein causes the cancer cell to kill themselves and by self.
The nanotechnology can be used to cure skin cancer as well, and that uses the gold nanoparticles which is being attached to the RNA molecules. This nanoparticle come in the form of an ointment that is being applied to the skin. And this nanoparticle penetrates the skin and the RNA gets attached to cancer affected gene, and that stops the gene from generating the proteins, which are the reason for the growth of the skin cancer tumors.
Also, there is short interfering RNAs or the siRNA, and that just stops cancer tumors from growing. And there is a potential to tailor the synthetic siRNA to the type of cancer in a separate patient.
Then, there is a method to increase the number of cancers fighting immune cells in cancer tumors. The nanoparticles with the drug molecules known as the interleukins are being attached to the immune cells (T-cells). The idea is definitely that as the T-cells reach the tumor the nanoparticles release the drug molecules, that cause the T-cells to reproduce. And if the required number of T-cells are reproduced around the cancer tumor then cancer can be destroyed. The technique has been tested on the laboratory mice, and the result has been quite good.
The magnetic nanoparticles, which attaches to the cancer cells in the blood may force the cancer cells to be destroyed, and well before as they try to establish the new tumors.
Various researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and various IBM researchers are making use of the hydrogel to demonstrate the sustained drug delivery. In this method, the hydrogel is being injected below the skin, and that allows continuous drug release for a longer time, and with only one injection avoiding the need for the repeated injection. They have demonstrated this by injecting the hydrogel, which contains the chemotherapy drug Herceptin into the laboratory mice. And the study showed a significant reduction in the tumor size.
Sometimes the gold nanoparticles are used to deliver the platinum to cancer tumors, and that reduces the effect of platinum cancer therapy.
The above details explain the role of the nanoparticles and hence the nanotechnology in the treatment of cancer. Interested researchers should enroll soon to various top universities and laboratories to participate in this quest, which is even bigger than the research that was being carried out to find a cheaper method to make aluminum.