New study paves way for better cancer treatmentBy ANI
Saturday, February 5, 2011
WASHINGTON - Scientists have developed a little bomb that promises a big bang for cancer patients.
Preliminary tests show an anti-cancer drug loosely attached to gold nanoparticles starts accumulating deep inside tumors within minutes of injection and can be activated for an effective treatment within two hours.
The same drug injected alone takes two days to gather and attacks the tumor from the surface-a far less effective route.
Speeding anti-cancer drugs directly into tumors enables patients to receive lower doses of the toxic chemicals, thereby saving healthy tissue from damage and other harsh side effects suffered in traditional chemotherapy.
“We hope to lower the dosage by at least a factor of 10,” said Clemens Burda, a professor of chemistry at Case Western Reserve University and senior author of the paper.
The scientists tied an anti-cancer drug to golden missiles using a weak chemical interaction called a noncovalent bond.
They found that by using a noncovalent bond to attach the drug to coated gold, they eliminated interference among the desired properties of each component.
The coated gold provides an environment to physically prevent activation of the photodynamic therapy drug silicon phthalocyanine, preventing unintended toxic exposures to healthy tissues.
The loosely-held drug is released from the nanoparticle through the attraction of the drug to the lipid membrane of cancer cells. Laser light switches on the freed silicon phthalocyanine, which breaks down and kills cancer cells, shrinking the tumor.
After delivering the drug, the nanoparticles pass through the kidneys and clear the body within a week.
The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (ANI)