Nanotechnology: Tiny Particles May Play Big Role in Testing Cancer Drugs
A new approach is needed to fight cancer, and an Israeli engineer says his nanotechnology drug delivery method may be the answer.
Avi Schroeder says through nanotechnology, he and his team at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s chemical engineering department – have discovered a means through which doctors can customize cancer testing on patients, according to Haaretz.
As there are some 200 cancer drugs on the market, doctors work against the unknown and against the clock to determine how a patient will respond to their cancer treatment. The testing process, whereby doctors typically administer one drug after another in the hope of finding success, often leaves patients weakened and in declining health from the cancer and the drug testing.
As nanotechnology is based on the use of microscopic-sized particles containing data, it offers many advantages in customizable cancer testing. And because the dose of drug contained in each particle is extremely tiny, the testing process is not toxic to the patient.
Schroeder’s technology delivers to the patient’s cancerous region multiple nanoparticles, each containing a minuscule dose of a single drug that is “barcoded” with DNA sequence. The process is compared to testing for an allergy by scratching skin and applying an allergic medicine to see if the skin reacts.
Following the delivery of drugs to the cancerous region the mass, or tumor, is then removed and biopsied to determine which of the drugs worked and which did not. The information derived from the process enables doctors to make the recommendations based on the testing, which is done on actual living tissue.
The testing at Technion was based on breast and skin cancer. Schroeder hopes to further refine the process so that doctors will be able to make diagnoses within a week’s time.