What's the Latest Development?

A team of Swedish scientists have created a nanoparticle capable of delivering non-toxic cancer-treatment drugs directly to tumors in the body which are both biodegradable and traceable using MRI machines. "The method makes nanoparticles spontaneously build themselves up using customized macromolecules. ... The scientists filled nanoparticles with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (DOX), which is used to treat bladder, lung, ovarian and breast cancer. In experiments on cultured cells, they showed that the particles themselves are not harmful but can effectively kill cancer cells after being loaded with the drug."

What's the Big Idea?

The new system should prove especially useful for cancers that are difficult to treat with chemotherapy, including brain, pancreatic and drug-resistant breast-cancer tumors. "In the long term, the research can result in tailored chemotherapy treatments that seek out tumor cells. This would enable the toxic drug to be delivered more specifically to the tumor, making the treatment more effective while reducing side effects." Scientists aim to give nanoparticles a homing function so that the cancer drug is as effective as possible and can be transported to the right place. 

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