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Biotech Science

New Nanoparticle Cancer Therapy 81

Posted by kdawson
from the targeted-clots dept.
quixote9 tips us to a BBC story on a promising new cancer therapy using targeted nanoparticles. From the article: "The researchers used the nanoparticles to zero in on the network of blood vessels that supply the tumors in mice with nutrients and oxygen... [They] developed a technique for amplifying [the nanoparticles'] homing ability by designing a multifunctional nanoparticle that binds to a protein structure found only in tumors and associated blood vessels... The tests showed that within hours of the injection, the artificial platelets began blocking the supply without harming normal tissues. The scientists believe the nanoparticles could also be used to carry drugs to the tumor."
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New Nanoparticle Cancer Therapy

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  • Stand in awe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mulhollandj (807571) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:55PM (#17529882)
    Sometimes I look at how things like this work and I am just amazed and somewhat grateful to be living in an age with such incredible technology.
  • When (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Swimport (1034164) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:59PM (#17529978) Homepage
    Every few months there is a cancer break through it seems. When are we finally going to see something in the hospitals? Is it the FDA and bureaucratic red tape, are these vapor cures? If its red tape, why not bring your drug down to Mexico, I'm sure plenty of cancer patients wont mind crossing the boarder for something that works. And if they every do cure cancer, invest all your money in Philip Morris.
  • Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by simonharvey (605068) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:10PM (#17530194) Homepage
    Although I think that this is a great idea with alot of good potential however I cannot seriously see this coming into fruition due to the IP, testing and marketing that has to be done.

    I do hope that something good comes out of it. But it is that you hear about little break throughs like these all of the time and nothing seems to come from them due to the massive hurdles that keep coming up.

    Kind Regards
    Simon Harvey

  • by milamber3 (173273) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:31PM (#17530654)
    I'm not sure how long it takes to kill the cancer by blocking its blood supply but I work with nanoparticles in my lab and the ones we create are biodegradable and can be made to last for varying amounts of time (~1-7 days normally) based on the material. I suppose they could greatly decrease the chance of problems post-cancer if they formulate the clot to degrade after average amount of time needed to starve the cancer.
  • Re:When (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Poruchik (1004331) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:33PM (#17530690) Homepage
    And some DO become useful, 100% cures (or preventive vaccines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HPV_vaccine [wikipedia.org])
  • by Poruchik (1004331) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:36PM (#17530738) Homepage
    This is utterly irrelevant. And wrong-headed. My grandfather has cancer (lymphoma), but none of my relatives has had a heart attack. Does it mean I should go rant to stop all cardio related research in favor of cancer research? Any and all research (the usual caveats apply) is good thing.
  • Re:When (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swimport (1034164) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:59PM (#17531132) Homepage
    Would you like to be the one who signs off on offering patients with terminal cancer a treatment that could potentially harm their health? Hmmm?

    As long as they knew the risks ahead of time, yes I would. If there is a treatment that might help, but also may hurt someone who is going to die from cancer anyway, who is anyone to keep that treatment from them should they decide they want to take the risk??
  • Basic Stuff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:16PM (#17531416) Homepage Journal
    What about just some generic artificial platelets [wikipedia.org] that clot bloody wounds like the natural platelets? Platelets are by far the most short-supplied blood product that constrains blood products. Every serious trauma patient who gets into a hospital quickly exhausts their own platelets, and consumes easily a half-dozen donors, usually triple or more the amount of red blood cells they consume.

    Anticancer targeted platelets are a great advance. But many times as many people need the simpler generic stuff. Before pharmacos get paid lots of public money for the anticancer platelets they'll surely patent for maximum profit (after heavily subsidized and risk-mitigated development), they should produce the generic platelets that aren't as profitable, but help save many more people.
  • "Nano" vs. "Drug"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chub_mackerel (911522) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:40PM (#17531790)
    I admit to a large amount of cluelessness in this area, so can someone enlighten me on a semantic distinction?

    I know that all things "nano" are hot right now, but if this had been invented 15 years ago, would it just have been called a "drug"? In other words, is this simply an engineered molecule or substance or whatever that binds to specific receptors in certain ways for certain effects... what makes it "nano" other than its size? If that's the only criteria, then why aren't ALL drugs "nanoparticles"? Are these particles bigger or produced in a different way?

    I'm just confused - when I first heard of nanotechnology I imagined little machines. That may be a misconception on my part, but I still feel that simply being a little grain of something (even if that something was engineered to have useful properties) doesn't quite seem to warrant the designation.
  • by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch@inorb[ ]com ['it.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @09:39PM (#17533330) Homepage Journal
    Geeks talk about the importance of people, but anything involving Microsoft will have 500+ comments in 5 minutes, and anything involving science will have barely 100+ in an hour.

    I survived cancer. My body, through whatever freak genetics and immune system programming, managed to wall off all of the cancerous tissue into nodes and the doctor, 9 months later, excised them and didn't contaminate my system with a single cell. I owe that man my life- it's interesting to live your life knowing that from the age 17+ you were supposed to die.

    Here is a very interesting article about cancer and tumours, and how to fight them off. Yet no one feels the urge to add to quip "MS will 0\/\/N U" or something? Problems?

    There's been quite abit of talk about nano-particles and buckyballs (kill off any fish, lately?) carrying different payloads once they're tagged with some sort of handle into different cells. This is a VIABLE treatment that, if I were back in that situation, I'd undertake if it meant jumping in front of a needle meant for a mouse.

    Does anyone here know what it means to corner your doctor after your mother leaves the room- dragging yourself out of bed when every step is an agony of nerves you didn't know you had- and ask them what the fuck it is you're seeing in their eyes when they look at you and why they can't meet yours?

    As geeks we've always blamed society for not having theirs organized right- let's get ours right before I see any more stones cast. Fix health. Then life. Then worry about which fucking OS is going to dominate the market next year.

    Because the last time I looked in the mirror I didn't have to debate whether or not Bill Gates had anything to do with whether or not I that 'air you're breathing now" was real.
  • by orcrist (16312) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @07:45AM (#17537404)
    Geeks talk about the importance of people, but anything involving Microsoft will have 500+ comments in 5 minutes, and anything involving science will have barely 100+ in an hour.


    Perhaps there are a bunch of lurkers who -- like me -- don't feel qualified to comment on such a highly technical subject outside their field or experience. I'm certainly interested in this subject and what people have to say about it, but I'm not likely to be able to throw in a point of fact like I might in a Linux vs. MS flamewar, or a politics debate. It would be interesting to know the number of views stories and their comments get -- maybe that's already possible? I'm too lazy to check right now. In any case, it would reflect the level of interest in the story better than the number of comments.

    BTW I also found your comment an enlightening and interesting contribution to the discussion. I would have modded it as such but I decided to reply instead :-P

    -chris

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

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