Nanotechnology may eventually benefit patients with inoperable cancers

| March 18, 2009

BBC News (3/10) reported, "Nanotechnology has been used for the first time to destroy cancer cells with a highly targeted package of 'tumor busting' genes," and it "could potentially offer hope to people with hard-to-treat cancers where surgery is not possible." Detailing their work, researchers in the UK explained that first they wrapped the genes "in microscopic nano-particles 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, which were taken up by cancer cells, but not their healthy neighbors." Then, "once inside, the genes stimulated production of a protein which destroys the cancer," the authors added. Specifically, "the gene enclosed in the particle recognizes the cancerous environment and switches on." Although the "result is toxic," it only impinges on "the offending cells, leaving healthy tissue unaffected," whereas "traditional chemotherapy indiscriminately kills cells in the affected area of the body, which can cause side effects like fatigue, hair loss, or nausea."

Category: General Healthcare News, In-vivo

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