Submitted by: Odio @ 05:40 AM | Tuesday, August 30, 2016 | (url: http://futurism.c...)
FINDING THE TARGET
In essence, cancer arises when a cells division mechanism breaks down and begins dividing uncontrollably, resulting in the development of tumors. When these out-of-control cells spread elsewhere, we have what is known as metastasis. which results in the development and spread of secondary tumors in the lungs, liver, and a host of other tissues.
These secondary tumors, also known as metastatic tumors, present the greatest risk and complications to cancer patients. Now new research may help provide an approach to eradicating the spread of these cancerous cells.
Led by Mauro Ferrari, a nanomedicine expert, a team of researchers has developed a method in which these spinoff tumors are tricked into consuming poison. The main component of this method is an agent called doxorubicin (dox), which has been used for years in cancer treatment, and the results in mice studies have shown this new method to be highly effective.
Dox eliminates cancer cells by jamming up DNA in the cell nucleus to prevent cell division. However, in the bloodstream, dox also negatively affects heart muscle cells and could lead to heart failure. To ensure that only tumor cells were killed, the researchers encapsulate the drug within a drug carrier.
For years, the team has been developing porous silicon particles for this purpose. With its small size and disklike shape, it is able to travel through normal blood vessels. Blood vessels near tumors are usually malformed and leaky ,which cause the particles to pool near the tumor. This allowed the drug agents to be delivered only to the tumor.
GETTING INTO THE SYSTEM
That wasnt the only problem researchers had to overcome. After delivering the agent, most tumor cells have membrane proteins which essentially act as tiny pumps that moves the drug outside the cell before it can have any effect. To counteract this defense system, the researchers linked the the dox molecules to stringlike polymer.