Nanoparticles in medicine are being explored to battle cancer cells on a cellular level. The growing research on nanoparticle treatments is a leap towards defeating the disease that causes 13 percent of deaths worldwide.
Medical researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a nanoparticle therapy that will make chemotherapy more effective. This is their effort to improve on the existing treatments available instead of exploring new types of medication.
Making Chemotherapy Drugs More Effective
The treatment, with trials conducted on four mice, targets cell structures called the epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) that are tasked in aligning our body’s organs. All is well if the cells are healthy. However, a problem arises when they are overproduced in cancer cells.
The overproduction becomes problematic, according to chief researcher John McDonald, because many functions of the cell will be resistant. This includes resistance to chemotherapy drugs and makes the treatment ineffective.
Nanohydrogel Treatment and Chemotherapy Combined
McDonald adds that there is a dramatic effect seen in the combination of nanohydrogel treatment and chemotherapy. Their treatment of the four mice with ovarian cancer revealed “massive reduction or complete eradication of the tumor.”
Using short interfering (si) RNA delivered through a minute gel pellet, the nanoparticles in medicine is able to block the outset of the cells’ production of protein for EGFR. According to McDonald, the EGFR functions are blocked by “completely knocking out its production in ovarian cancer cells.”
On Its Very Early Stages of Trials
The medical research on the nanoparticle treatment is still on its very young stages with vivo trials only conducted in four mice. More trials involving animals are needed, according to the law, before preliminary human tests will be allowed. This means it will still take quite some time before trials for people to happen.
Nonetheless, the growing number of medical studies on nanoparticle therapies, including nanoparticles in medicine, is opening significant revolutionaries in treatments to take down cancer and its many types.