Sep 10, 2015 08:03 PM EDT
It cannot be denied that there are numbers of modalities to treat cancer nowadays. However, none of them seemingly is capable of specifically targeting the culprit alone. For example, in chemotherapy, both normal and defective cells are killed. An answer to this problem is given light through nanoparticles.
"Just to give you an idea of the particle size, the diameter of your hair is 80,000 nanometers, and we are talking about 100 nanometers," said Dr. Raj Rajasekaran, a researcher from the University of Delaware.
Nanotechnologists claim that in the form of targeted drug species, gold nanotechnology particles can be a treatment for cancer. It is preferred than other because it boasts to "spare the normal cells and at the same time you can kill the cancer cells," said Dr. Rajasekaran.
Scientists said that these nanoparticles can bring anti-cancer drugs at the exact location and attack cancer cells. The decreased incidence of side effects and a reduced number of medications to be administered put this form of treatment on top of the list. With the aim of maximizing drug effectiveness and patient's safety, nanoparticles can be engineered to send a dose of drugs to a particular area but manipulated for a timely release.
The goal of treatment was to make the power of this technology and the ravenous tendencies of cancer cells. In one experiment that utilized this type, modified bacteria cells, which were 20 percent the size of normal cells, were equipped with antibodies that hook to cancer cells before they release the anti-cancer drugs they carry.
In addition, nanoparticles can also be used adjunct with other modes of therapies. For instance, when these particles are absorbed by cancer cells, they are able to produce a heated magnetic field that weakens cancer cells, thus helping chemotherapeutic agents to destroy infected cells easily.
There are still other types of nanoparticles under development. But gold nanoparticles are increasing in popularity in the fields of research, diagnostic, and treatment. Bill Hammach, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Illinois, cautioned the "technological sweetness" of these particles, meaning scientists are so determined to discover their capabilities that they do not even ask whether it is necessary.