Health

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Sedalia Democrat, Joseph Beaher/AP

Nanotechnology Halts Spread of Cancer in Mice

July 10, 2008 02:02 PM
by Cara McDonough
Scientists have shown that using drug-infused nanoparticles in mice can stop the spread of cancer throughout the body.

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The particles used were loaded with doxorubicin, an effective but highly toxic anticancer drug, according to Wired.

Although the nanoparticles did not affect the original tumors in mice with kidney and pancreas cancers, they did stop the cancers from spreading through the bodies of the mice—the process known as metastasis.

The finding could be excellent news for cancer patients.

“Patients often don’t die from primary tumors, which you can recognize and detect and develop a therapy,” said pathologist David Cheresh of the University of California, San Diego, who led the study. “They die from metastatic disease. ... Those patients could theoretically be treated with this type of therapy.”

Nanotechnology is the use of atomic, molecular or microscopic technology smaller than 100 nanometers. Its use in cancer research has been increasing in recent years. The National Cancer Institute launched the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, dedicated entirely to nanotechnology’s use in fighting cancer, in 2004.

In addition to treating cancer, nanoparticles can also be used for the early detection of cancer, Cheresh said. “Those trials have begun or are in the process of being finalized,” he said. “The day isn’t too far off.”

Headline Links: Nanotechnology targets cancer metastasis

Background: Early research in nanotechnology and cancer

Reference: The National Cancer Institute; nanotechnology; cancer

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