Nanoparticles, high tech weapons fighting brain cancer


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Biomedical research involving nanoparticles is being tested as it could pave the way for a new and more effective drug-delivering method against glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

Nanotechnology might be the key to figuring out a cure for cancer once and for all. Scientists are using microscopic particles that are embedded with powerful drugs to target specific cancer cells. Their ability to permeate the blood-brain barrier makes them ideal for a more directed and controlled approach.

The latest development was creating a nanoparticle able to transport two different compounds: one that actively damages and reduces the tumor cells, and another that renders them unable to regenerate.

Trials so far are looking promising, which is great news for the patients and also their families. The current treatment for brain cancer involves not only a risky surgery but also rounds of chemotherapy followed by radiation, each involving more strain on the body.

This treatment might allow forgoing some medication that has heavy side effects. Temozolomide, for example, one of the most common drugs administered in the early stages, generally causes nausea, weakness and bruising in patients. A more power and less taxing option seem to be on the horizon.

Michael Yaffe, Professor of Science at the Koch Institute and member of the team conducting the trials said: “This is yet another example where the combination of nanoparticle delivery with drugs involving the DNA-damage response can be used successfully to treat cancer”.

There is hope that work on this project might lead to advancements in the treatment of other forms of cancer as well.

Even though the road ahead is still long, one thing is for certain, science is taking steps in the right direction