Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Nanoparticles help fight cancer

A recently published study shows that nanoparticles can be effective in drug delivery and imaging of tumors.

One of the major problems with cancer drugs so far has been to get high enough concentrations of them to the target tissue/tumor. The body tends be really good at excretion of foreign substances such as drugs, so for some drugs one would have to inject toxic levels to get a reasonable amount of the drug to the tumor, which really is not an option in most cases. There is also the problem that some drugs does not discriminate between cancerous and healthy tissue (ie chemotherapy). The scientists behind this study managed to create a nanoparticle that can both contain cancer drugs (the drug in the study was doxorubicin) and avoid excretion, thus allowing for smaller dosages. Also, the nanoparticle was coated with a protein (F3) specifically designed to bind to cancerous cells, thus reducing the effects on healthy tissue. 

The nanoparticle was also able to carry iron oxide particles, which can be used to image tumors using MRI, and so called fluorescent quantum dots (which just mean really, really small particles) that show up on a fluorescent scan. These imaging techniques will be very helpful when tumors are to be surgically removed. 

Very cool indeed.

The full paper can be found here.


September 30, 2008 - Posted by | Medicine | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Well it looks like nanoparticles are getting their share of media attention. Do see my post on how a consumer watchdog has called for more research into their use in the cosmetics industry. It’s available here:


    Comment by Urmila | November 14, 2008 | Reply

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