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Biotech Science

Gold Beads Can Fight Cancer, Too 27

Posted by timothy
from the au-cut-that-out dept.
descil writes "In addition to the Reovirus story posted earlier, Health Central reports that nanoscopic gold-coated beads can be used to kill cancerous cells, while leaving other tissues undamaged. The researchers tested their technique on human breast cancer cells and on cancerous tumors grown on mice. In each case, the combination of nanoshells and near-infrared light caused irreversible heat damage to tumor cells while leaving surrounding tissue unharmed."
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Gold Beads Can Fight Cancer, Too

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  • Comparison (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:05PM (#7392003)
    Looks like the two methods are about the same effectiveness (though the reovirus has been tested in more types of cancer) - but which one is cheaper? I'd wager the one that doesn't involve gold, and is self-replicating.
    • Re:Comparison (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bersl2 (689221) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:16PM (#7392080) Journal
      The amount of gold they're talking about is probably less than the amount in a computer. Nanoscopic gold isn't that incredibly expensive.

      (Warning: I did not RTFA.)
    • cost comparision (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tid242 (540756) *
      but which one is cheaper? I'd wager the one that doesn't involve gold, and is self-replicating.

      i can think of quite a few drugs off the top of my head that cost (i'd say 'worth' but that's relative) a hell of a lot more than gold by weight, most of these are biotech/monoclonal_antibody type compounds, you might have heard of some of them, venomous snake antivenons are probably the most well known.

      It's also probably a lot easier to get an ounce of gold from the depths of South African hell than it is to

      • Indeed; my son was born prematurely and so is suseptible to RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). Each month he receives a 150mg Synagis shot, and each shot is $1000. I'll let you do the math, but I believe that makes Synagis much more expensive than the current price of gold on the spot market.
  • by bluethundr (562578) * on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:34PM (#7392223) Homepage Journal
    Colloquially, the phrase "cure for cancer" is meant to say "he/she can do the impossible". Conversely, the phrase "if we can go to the moon, why can't we do 'x'..." is meant to imply that we can do anything, because what's more impossible than a man walking on the moon? Well, today there may be cause to celebrate what may be the medical equivalent of "walking on the moon".
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:38PM (#7392261)
    The article makes it sound like IR-illuminated nanoshells in normal tissue would not cause damage. But this is untrue. The nanoshells must somehow be delivered to the tumor where IR-illumination makes them hot and kills all the neighboring cells.

    The nanoshells are a good idea, but they do rely on some antibody/target/delivery mechanism to get the nanoshells into the right place. If the nanoshells migrate into the wrong location, they will kill healthy tissue.

    BTW, there are other cancer therapies based on migrate-and-kill strategies. Some use chemicals that are preferentially taken up by cancer cells that can be made extremely toxic when exposed to light.
    • i would suspect that these nanoparticles are just injected and they accumulate in tumor tissue due to blood-vessel irregularities specific to cancerous tissue.

      Since tumors are lumps of fairly uncontrolled and uncordinated growth, and are also highly angioneogenic (blood vessel formation promoting) the capillary formations within tomors are also highly uncontrolled and uncordinated, which leads to different circulatory/flow patterns inside these tissue masses than normal healthy tissue.

      There has already

      • "Unfortunately we've still got a long way to go with cancer..."

        This is a little like saying we've got a long way to go until imortality.

        As for the notion that cancers will 'evolve' away from treatments, surely not. Yes as more cancers are cured / bypassed & life expectancy increases the relative prevalence of the more esoteric cancers will grow, but cancers do not 'evolve', at least not in the usual sense we apply to say viruses, which are subject to selective pressure and inevitabaly will adapt / e
        • As for the notion that cancers will 'evolve' away from treatments, surely not. Yes as more cancers are cured / bypassed & life expectancy increases the relative prevalence of the more esoteric cancers will grow, but cancers do not 'evolve', at least not in the usual sense we apply to say viruses, which are subject to selective pressure and inevitabaly will adapt / evolve to be resistant to treatments.

          you're right that cancers don't evolve like other lifeforms floating about the planet, as they're in t

    • If the nanoshells migrate into the wrong location, they will kill healthy tissue.

      Aside from the greater likelihood that they will accumulate in the cancerous tissue, remember the nanshells do little or nothing on their own. They require heating to kill tissue, and the surgeons will be aiming their IR at the target area. Healthy tissue will only be killed if it has the nanoshells and is in the IR beam path.

      You could also use a multiple beam approach, where healthy tissue around the tumor only receives o
  • by snooo53 (663796) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:20PM (#7392925) Journal
    Includes a link to the CNN story.

    my original comment to the ealier story [slashdot.org]

  • Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit smoking.
  • Mr. T is safe from lung cancer.

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