3-in-1 Cancer Fighting Nanostructure: image via uc.eduIt has been difficult for researchers to develop medical nanocomposites that are capable of performing more that one task at a time; thus some are used for detection, as in detecting cancer cells, and others deliver cancer-fighting drugs. But recently, an international team of university researchers were successful in creating one nanostructure capable of performing three very important cancer-fighting tasks....
The team of researchers from Tongji University in Shanghai, University of Cincinnati, and Stanford University were able to create a Janus nanostructure - one that maintains the desired nanoscale proportions of the structure, but that is double- surfaced, each side composed of a different material relevant to its purpose. The two outside surfaces would serve to target and identify the cancer cells.
In addition, the team was able to produce an internal surface that could deliver a third function, that of drug delivery.
The new nanostructure is now able to
- Transport cancer-specific detection nanoparticles to a specific site in the body where it would identify specific cancer cells;
- Attach specific florescent markers to the sites of cancer cells so that they can be identified for treatment, either for surgery or drug-targeting; and
- Deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to cancer cells.
This revolutionary development has great significance for the future of cancer therapy. It offers the opportunity for faster treatment, and it is much safer than chemotherapy because it enables the targeting of only cancer cells, not healthy cells as well. Additionally, the 3-in-1 nanostructure will be much less expensive than chemotherapy.
Right now, the researchers sugggest that the treatment lends itself best to cancers that are close to the body's surface, such as breast and prostate cancers.
source: University of Cincinnati