State of the Art in Targeted Cancer Therapies

Another example of what will be in the clinics a decade from now via EurekAlert! - and would be in the clinics now if the FDA didn't exist: "Hollow gold nanospheres equipped with a targeting peptide find melanoma cells, penetrate them deeply, and then cook the tumor when bathed with near-infrared light ... Active targeting of nanoparticles to tumors is the holy grail of therapeutic nanotechnology for cancer. We're getting closer to that goal ... When heated with lasers, the actively targeted hollow gold nanospheres did eight times more damage to melanoma tumors in mice than did the same nanospheres that gathered less directly in the tumors. ... The researchers packaged hollow, spherical gold nanospheres with a peptide - a small compound composed of amino acids - that binds to the melanocortin type 1 receptor, which is overly abundant in melanoma cells. They first treated melanoma cells in culture and later injected both targeted and untargeted nanospheres into mice with melanoma, then applied near-infrared light. ... The targeted nanospheres were actively drawn into the cells through the cell membrane. When the researchers beamed near-infrared light onto treated cultures, most cells with targeted nanospheres died, and almost all of those left were irreparably damaged."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-02/uotm-tnf013009.php

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