Nanoparticles Deliver Cancer Drugs inside Tumors

A clinical trial currently underway has shown a promising ability to use nanoparticles to target specific tumor cells, directly delivering chemotherapy drugs while avoiding the body's immune system. 

What's the Latest Development?


In a clinical trial currently underway, scientists have shown they can manipulate nano-sized particles to deliver cancer drugs directly to tumor cells, often reducing the size of the patient's tumor. Performed at BIND Biosciences, "researchers coated the nanoparticles with targeting molecules that recognize a protein called PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen), found abundantly on the surface of most prostate tumor cells as well as many other types of tumors." The nanoparticles delivered the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers. 

What's the Big Idea?

Engineering the nanoparticles to evade the body’s normal immune response and reaching their intended targets was not easy, say the researchers. "The BIND-014 nanoparticles have three components: one that carries the drug, one that targets PSMA, and one that helps evade macrophages and other immune-system cells." Just 48 hours after treatment, the amount of docetaxel in patients' blood was 100 times that of patients who received chemotherapy in the traditionally indiscriminate way. BIND Biosciences is currently planning the trial's second phase, which will test the treatment on a larger number of patients. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less