The use of nanoparticles and other nanoscale materials has been gathering a lot of significant interest in recent years and has even adapted into its own interdisciplinary field of science known as nanomedicine. Whilst there are still some issues to be ironed out within the nanomedicine field, it has brought about great advances within medicine, including many nanoparticle-based therapies for cancer. Given that the alternative to such treatments is longer periods of intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy (although some therapies still use these processes but the cancer killing effects are more enhanced), there has been a lot of research dedicated to fighting cancer within the nanomedicine sector.
Cancer is currently on the rise. Currently, around every 1 in 8 males in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, with there being a significantly higher risk if the males are older, or if there is a pre-existing history of the cancer in the family. There are a range of nanoparticle therapeutic treatments undergoing developments, some of which are used to enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, whereas others deliver specific drugs to cancer cells.
Nanocarrier vessels are the most widely used therapeutic treatment for all types of cancer, as it enables the cancer-killing drug payload to be delivered to a specific site of interest (i.e. the tumour), whereupon the drug is released to the cancer cells, thus destroying them, whilst leaving the surrounding healthy cells undamaged. The same is true for prostate cancer, where specific drugs designed to kill prostate cancer cells can be loaded into the nanocarriers. Even though their regulatory viability is questionable, nanocarriers offer a much safer route to killing cancer cells (i.e. without causing unnecessary damage to healthy tissue), but not all nanocarriers are a viable option because of their inability to be excreted efficiently.
A lot of research in the early days of nanocarrier drug delivery systems focused on vessels of an inorganic nature, yet these are the types that are troublesome to break down or excrete. This has caused a shift in the types of nanocarrier vessels undergoing research at the fundamental level nowadays, and the shift has been towards organic-based vessels, such as liposomes. The shift has been attributed to a few factors, such as a much wider range of usable delivery vessels, but the most significant factors as to why organic nanocarriers are being used more and more is due to their much higher bioavailability, biocompatibility and the ability to be excreted by the body.
Another growing area, both academically and commercially, is the use of magnetic nanoparticles, i.e. nanoparticles composed of iron oxide to thermally treat cancer cells. Whilst iron oxide nanoparticles themselves are not highly biocompatible, their surface can be functionalized with biocompatible organic groups, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), to make them suitable for use within the body. These particles can be directed remotely using an external magnetic field to the site of interest. Once the nanoparticles reach the cancerous site, they can be activated to undergo Brownian motion, which releases heat and destroys the cancer cells.
Image Credit: shutterstock.com/KaterynaKon
News This Week
From Frontiers Forum: How can research translate to R&D? Or a whole new business venture? In a panel session at Science Unlimited 2019, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group CEO Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Life Biosciences CEO [...]
More and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built. Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange [...]
“The most crucial result of this work is the correlation between form and function in supercapacitor materials,” states first author Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem. She elaborates that “our research is driven by the need for [...]
“We’ll have nanobots that… connect our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud. Our thinking will be a…. biological and non-biological hybrid.” Ray Kurzweil, TED 2014 UPDATE - June 18 2019 Since [...]
A new study by the Environmental Working Group reveals that: “Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing [...]
A nanotechnology treatment derived from bone marrow stem cells has reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in mice and could eventually be used to help humans, according to a new study led by University of California, [...]
In a paper published this week in Nature ("Freestanding crystalline oxide perovskites down to the monolayer limit"), materials science researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions unveil a new process for [...]
New research provides insight into the structure of silicon nanocrystals, a substance that promises to provide efficient lithium ion batteries that power your phone to medical imaging on the nanoscale. The research was conducted [...]
Several space missions, planned by both the European Space Agency and NASA, have their target set on Jupiter and its moons. The extraordinarily harsh radiation environments in the Jovian system will set some strict [...]
rance is clamping down on a common food additive that has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies. The ban of titanium dioxide, announced by the French government last month, follows a review [...]
Today’s societies critically depend on electronic systems. Past spectacular cyber-attacks have clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of existing systems and the need to prevent such attacks in the future. The majority of available cyber-defenses concentrate [...]
Researchers of the Nanoscience Center (NSC) at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and in the Xiamen University, China, have discovered how copper particles at the nanometre scale operate in modifying a carbon–oxygen bond when [...]
Cells in the body are wired like computer chips to direct signals that instruct how they function, research suggests (Nature Communications, “The cell-wide web coordinates cellular processes by directing site-specific Ca2+ flux across cytoplasmic [...]
We may be able to detect cancer soon by simply peeing on a stick. - Cancer is an aberrant function of a normal cell, where the regulators of that cell's dividing are broken [...]