Nanoparticles can destroy cancer cells



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Research: Cancer-destroying nanoparticles produced
17.02.2014

According to the preliminary result of a US study, researchers have been able to produce nanoparticles that destroy tumor cells in the blood and thus prevent cancer from spreading. Further research is now needed, but the hope is already high.

Nanoparticles destroy tumor cells in the blood A team of scientists led by Michael R. King from Cornell University in the US has succeeded in producing nanoparticles that destroy tumor cells in the blood and thus prevent cancer from spreading. The researchers reported on the preliminary results of their study in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America". According to this, the “sticky beads” produced could remain in the bloodstream and kill migrating cancer cells there on contact. The hopes are high now, but more research is still needed.

90 percent of deaths are related to metastases In life expectancy after cancer diagnosis, one of the most important factors is whether the tumor has already metastasized or not. According to King, around 90 percent of deaths are related to metastases. Therefore, the scientists tried to find a new solution to this problem. In the technical article, the researchers describe that the cancer-destroying protein called "Trail" could be combined with other sticky proteins to form small beads or nanoparticles. When these sticky objects were injected into the blood, they bound to white blood cells.

Successes after just two hours. Initial tests would have shown that the white blood cells eventually met every tumor cell that detached from the main tumor and tried to spread. This contact with "Trail" led to the death of the tumor cell. According to King, the effects were clear in human blood and mice. He said: "After two hours, the tumor cells in the bloodstream literally dissolved." Professor King believes that the nanoparticles could be used before surgery or before radiation therapy. There is a possibility that tumor cells will detach. And even in patients with particularly aggressive tumors, use is conceivable to prevent spreading.

Further testing required Although a lot still needs to be done, the effect of the nanoparticles is “immense”. To ensure the safety of the procedure, however, numerous additional tests in mice and larger animals are required before clinical studies with patients can be carried out. So far there is no evidence of a chain reaction with regard to the immune system. And it seems that there is no damage to other blood cells. (sb)

Image: TU Braunschweig, Institute of Electrical Measurement and Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering, nanoparticles.

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