The fight on cancer continues 10 replies

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DavetheFo

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29th May 2003

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#1 12 years ago
BBC Blue jean dye kills cancer cells By Branwen Morgan Norwich 999999.gif _42059900_particles_uea_203.jpg Each gold particle is just 16 billionths of a metre across The dye in your blue jeans could soon be used to kill cancer cells, say scientists. UK researchers are employing tiny gold "nanoparticles", 1/5000th the thickness of a human hair, to deliver the chemical compound directly into cancer cells, tearing them apart instantly. The common dye found in blue jeans and ballpoint pens is called phthalocyanine and is a light-activated, or photosensitive, agent with cell-destroying properties. This has been known for at least 15 years but, until now, scientists have not been able to successfully deliver it into cells; hence there's no harm in wearing blue jeans. The University of East Anglia (UEA) team used the gold particles as "trojan horses". Their small size enables them to easily enter cells, and the phthalocyanine is taken up along with them. When pulsed with laser light, the compound produces a highly reactive form of oxygen which causes the cancer cells to commit suicide. o.gifstart_quote_rb.gifCancer cells are too greedy for their own good end_quote_rb.gif Dr David Russell UEA's Dr David Russell explained: "Because this compound does not dissolve in water, it is difficult to get it into cells. But this 'fat soluble' property is precisely what makes it a great potential therapy. "We have shown using nanotechnology that we can get phthalocyanine into the cancer cells where it binds and, on activation, causes substantial cell death," he told the British Association's Science Festival. Red 'trigger' Healthy cells will also internalise the drug-coated nanoparticles, but unlike cancer cells they will excrete the phthalocyanine. "Cancer cells are too greedy for their own good," said Dr Russell. "They are growing so fast that they take in and retain everything - not just nutrients needed for growth." _42060402_cancer_uea_203cred.jpg Nanoparticles guide the dye into cancer cells The use of so called photodynamic therapy is not new; the first of the four compounds that are currently in clinical use was approved in 1995. Of these all are water soluble and are used largely to treat skin cancer as they naturally accumulate in the surface of the skin where they are more easily activated by light. For some reason, phthalocyanine does not get into the skin - making it more suitable for treating solid tumours within the body. "Best of all," added Dr Russell, "this compound is optimised for activation by red light and produces far more of the deadly oxygen than the currently available photodynamic therapies. "In addition, because it doesn't go into the skin there is no need for the patient to stay out of the sun which can trigger side-effects with the other drugs." No escape Traditional cancer chemotherapies rely on the patient being able to process the drug. In some people, their genetic differences mean this does not happen and for others, their cells become resistant to the effects of the drug. Photodynamic therapy bypasses this issue because it does not rely on the body to activate the drug - rather a pulse of, rather ordinary, red light. Dr Mark Wainwright, a senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry at the Liverpool John Moores University says that an improved drug design such as this should have significant advantages over the currently available photosensitive agents. He adds: "Red light can only travel through 5-6mm tissue, but activating the nanoparticles in tumours inside the body, such as in the gut, could be done by using a fibre optic cable to shine the laser on the cancer target." So far, Dr Russell's research, recently published in Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, has only been conducted on human cervical cells in the laboratory. But his team's collaborators in Italy have just begun testing the approach in animal models of cancer. If all goes to plan, phthalocyanine nanoparticles could be available for human trials within five years and will be administered either by injection into the bloodstream or directly into a tumour.

Its reading items like this that put a smile on my face at the end of the night.

I really hope that they can get this to work, cancer should not be as big a killer as it is.




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#2 12 years ago

Very very cool. The idea that they will be able to have such a powerful cure for cancer is very.. well it's good. Not sure how else to say it.




N88TR

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#3 12 years ago

So it would be unfair to say 'if they can't find a cure for the common cold, how are they going to find a cure for cancer?'




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#4 12 years ago
Captain AmerikaSo it would be unfair to say 'if they can't find a cure for the common cold, how are they going to find a cure for cancer?'

The common cold is uncurable because it changes every single time you get it. Much the same way the Flu is different every year, every single time you get a cold it would require a different vaccine. Atleast thats the way I've always understood it. Add to that fact that it is usually harmless, and you really have no reason to try to cure it.




Inyri Forge VIP Member

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#5 12 years ago

You can't really compare a cold to cancer anyhow. Cancer and a virus are quite a bit different.

Afterburner The common cold is uncurable because it changes every single time you get it.

You're on the right track here. What changes is the protein coat surrounding the viral genome. Every time it changes your immune system can no longer recognize it. The flu is this way, as is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which is one reason HIV is currently incurable.

Cancer is a completely different story, though. It's not nearly as big a killer as you think, though. Sure it's deadly, but it's not any different than it was 100 years ago. People just died of other things first back then. People didn't live long enough to get cancer.

I hate to say it, but cancer is probably a natural step in our lifecycle. A population control, if you will. Not the good news we wanted to hear, but doctors will undoubtedly find a way to cure it, or at least reduce its risk, within our lifetime.




Safe-Keeper

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#6 12 years ago

Good news indeed. Go medicine.




2 + 2 = 5

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#7 12 years ago

wow this is awesome news, i really hope it all works.




Fire Legion

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11th March 2006

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#8 12 years ago

If this works, it is fantastic. Three cheers for medical science?




GuineaPig

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#9 12 years ago

Fitting, as it is the Terry Fox run this Sunday. Hope it works.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#10 12 years ago

Inyri Forge Cancer is a completely different story, though. It's not nearly as big a killer as you think, though. Sure it's deadly, but it's not any different than it was 100 years ago. People just died of other things first back then. People didn't live long enough to get cancer.

I hate to say it, but cancer is probably a natural step in our lifecycle. A population control, if you will. Not the good news we wanted to hear, but doctors will undoubtedly find a way to cure it, or at least reduce its risk, within our lifetime.

I think some of the factors of our modern life-style make cancer more dangerous than it was 100 years ago, they just haven't been sufficiently explored yet.

I'm always happy to see any advances being made in cancer-research as I've got some personal reasons for really disliking this particular disease.




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