News Feature | March 20, 2014

Researches Develop A New Technology To Cure Cancer With The Use Of Nanoparticles

By Liisa Vexler

Scientists at Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center in UCLA have established a new way to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to destroy cancerous tumor cells. Specifically designed nano particles can now carry anti-cancerous drugs directly to the site of proliferation and release them when stimulated by laser waves in the lower wavelength. Jeffrey Zink, Fuyu Tamanoi and co-scientists —have published this innovative research in “Small”, an online journal.

Laser activated delivery of anti-cancer agents promises cancer cure because it has the potential to release the drug exactly at the same time and site as desired by the doctors. Hence, as a result, surrounding healthy tissue will remain secured from the injurious effects of those drugs and specific malignant cells will only be destroyed resulting in increased efficacy of anti-tumor treatment. The challenge to develop this technology was to assure the precise absorption of photo energy by nanoparticles, passing from the tissues. This problem was resolved by the collaboration of scientists at Jonsson Cancer Center and Jean-Olivier Durand, from University of Montpellier, France. The newly developed nanoparticles are prepared with thousands of nanopores that are capable of carrying chemotherapy drugs. The culminations of these pores are covered with nanovalves to hold the drugs inside, until the release is desired. These nanovalves have specially synthesized molecules that react to energy photons resulting in the opening of the valves and release of drug molecules.

The successful demonstration of these nanoparticles was performed on human breast cancer cell lines in the laboratory. Since the range of penetration of two-photon laser system in the lower wavelength is 4 centimetres only in body tissues, so it will be best the treatment option for cancer of the breast, colon, stomach and ovaries. The advantage of this method is that nanoparticles can be tracked on their way with the help of molecular imaging techniques, because these have fluorescence properties, as well. Tamanoi says that this success is the result of collaboration with French scientists, and this will prove to be a much valuable technique to control drug delivery, resulting in more successful treatment results and lesser side effects.