Researchers are using a new all-purpose nano synthesis method to design cancer-fighting nanoparticles.
A highly versatile method for making nanoparticles has now been used to make multipurpose cancer treatment particles. According to Joseph DeSimone, chemistry and chemical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, who presented the work at the American Chemical Society conference this week in Atlanta, the new synthesis method has potential applications in fuel cells, microfluidics, and vaccines as well.
The process has the "ability to create nanoparticles of nearly any shape or chemical composition. It is very, very promising," says Shelton Earp, director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC. Experts at the cancer center are now starting live animal tests of nanoparticles that were made using the method. The particles are designed to slip out of the bloodstream and deliver both drugs and imaging agents directly to cancer cells, sparing healthy cells. Such targeted delivery could significantly improve both the safety and effectiveness of cancer drugs. Earp says that within a year, separate studies will show whether particles made this way can safely and effectively combat skin and breast cancer in mice.