A new drug delivery technique may hold promise for more efficient cancer therapies. The technique involves storing a cancer drug inside tiny objects called nanoparticles which can carry drug molecules and target them to specific cells.  Using this method, researchers were able to shrink tumors in mice while using smaller doses of the drug to reduce harmful side effects.  For example, the chemotherapy drug cisplatin is an effective cell killer. It's used against half of all human cancers. However, cisplatin carries serious side effects, like kidney and nerve damage. These side effects limit the dose that can be used, which is a problem because the drug only lasts in the bloodstream for a short time.

Recently, a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women's Hospital showed that they could store an inactive form of cisplatin, called a prodrug, inside nanoparticles that are engineered to target a specific protein on prostate cancer cells. Once the cells take up the nanoparticle, the prodrug is released and converted to its active form. The team showed that these drug-carrying particles kill cancer cells in culture more efficiently than the drug alone.

Further work will be needed to show whether this technique works as well in humans as it does in small animals. If so, the targeted delivery of drugs using nanoparticles could become an exciting step into the future of cancer therapy.  This work was published in the January 10, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Very interesting material. I was part of a study about 4 years ago regarding nanobacteria and its role in prostatitis.

Seem like a good start, but, as you know, how humans respond compared to animals is not always the same. This is quite promising though. Cancer research is moving forward everyday and it always amazes me how they can develop the things they do to fight it.

Technology is coming so far it's very encouraging. I must agree with a couple of the other commentors' in regards to experiments on animals vs humans. However, with further testing and greater positve results just proves the proper direction we are heading. This is exciting with a feeling of hope. Great post. Thanks - Dan

This sounds like a good advance, but I think it's dangerous to use nanoparticles on human beings because we don't yet understand the side effects.

I had a friend of my that was part of a study for cancer EDITOR's COMMENT: We need more people who are willing to participate in research. Your friends should be commended.

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