The Use of Nanotechnology in Targeted Chemotherapy


Cancer is one of the deadliest illnesses known to men. Researchers, scientists, and doctors around the globe are teaming up to gather enough data on how they can prevent, cure and eradicate it. One of the basic steps in preventing it is having a healthy lifestyle. However, there are rare cases where people with healthy lifestyles are still being diagnosed with cancer.

One of the most common treatment of cancer is going through chemotherapy where the medicine being injected will kill the cancer cells. However, it will also destroy even the healthy cells that’s why patients who have decided to undergo through it need medical supervision all the time during medication.

Due to the side effects of chemotherapy, medical researchers and scientists are developing new methods where the chemotherapy drug will be administered directly to the cancer cells or tumor to avoid destroying healthy cells in the body. The methods are said to be used with nanotechnology.

The drug for killing cancer cells is called tumor necrosis factor alpha which is being administered together with a nanoparticle of gold. Also, Thiol-derivatized polyethylene glycol is included to the drug as it serves as a camouflage so our body’s immune system won’t attack the foreign particle inside our body. Another method being developed is using nanoparticles to generate heat and attacking the cancer cells. A nanoparticle called AuroShells will convert light into heat after absorbing it from a laser.

University of Georgia is able to conduct an experiment of using nanotechnology in combatting prostate cancer. In one of their experiments on mice, the nanoparticle brings a molecule called IPA- 3, which happens to hinders the growth of the cancer cells in the prostate.

MIT researchers are also conducting their own research in using nanoparticles in targeting cancer cells. Their study focuses on using nanoparticles in administering three different drug in three specific ratios to the cancer cells. Their experiment is also focused in ovarian cancer cells.

UCLA researchers introduced a different method in their research of treating pancreatic cancer by using two different nanoparticles in which one of it will destroy the outer lining of a cancer cell, especially the material that hinders the administration of the anti- cancer drug into the cell itself. Once the outer membrane is already breached, the second nanoparticle will then administer the drug directly inside of the cancer cell. They have tested this development on laboratory mice and significant change is observed as the tumor reduces faster than the usual administration of chemotherapy drug.

A company called BIND Biosciences are also developing a method where polymer nanoparticles are being used in delivering chemotherapy drugs. These specific nanoparticles are normally attracted to the protein that can be found in most cancer cells. With this in consideration, we can now increase the rate of drugs being delivered to the cancer cells itself.

Another study found out that leukemia cancer cells can be resistant to chemotherapy drugs by pushing it out of the cancer cells. However, it cannot push out nanodiamond and attaching the chemotherapy drug to it will allow the drug stay longer on the cancer cells which can greatly help the drug to do its job.

A lot of studies are now being conducted and they are using nanotechnology in improving chemotherapy which is our best weapon yet against cancer.