Clinical practice and research blog
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Nearly, 12 million deaths from cancer are estimated by 2030.
The current treatment given to cancer patient includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy and both these are associated with severe toxicities due to their inability to differentiate between cancer cells and normal cells.
Nanotechnology refers to research and technology development at the atomic, molecular and macro molecular scale, leading to the controlled manipulation and study of structures and devices with length scales in the 1-100 Nanometer range.
Major advantage is the ability of such systems to penetrate the biological membranes with ease and become available at the target site.
CURRENT CANCER NANOTECHNOLOGIES
Biosensor basically consists of a sensitive biological element, a transducer & a detector to analyse the Cancer Cells. When such device is in nanodimensions, they are termed as nano-biosensors.
With its help, the concentrations of anti-cancer agents at the target site increases and so efficacy also increases. Ex: Doxorubicin, Docetaxel.
They have been projected to be a potential MRI contrast agent that can be utilised for diagnosis and treatment in cancer therapy.DRUG DELIVERY CARRIERS FOR ANTICANCER AGENTS
Nano-particles including- POLYMERIC NANO PARTICLES, These consist of sub-nano sized colloidal structures composed of polymers having size 10-1000 nm. These include - Polylactic acid (PLA)
Polyglycolic acid (PGA), Polylactic glycolic acid (PLGA).
These are tiny crystals that glow when these are stimulated by UV light. These QD’s are used to identify live breast cancer cells that are likely to respond to an anti-cancer drug.
DIFFERENT NANOTECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
Nanoshells are miniscule beads coated with gold; The beads which absorb infrared light penetrate easily in human tissues and successfully killed tumour cells while leaving neighbouring cells intact.
These molecules bind to altered DNA proteins that are present in certain types of cancer monitoring the bending of cantilevers, it would be possible to tell whether the cancer molecules are present.
Nano tube tip is used to trace the physical shape of the DNA. A computer translates this information into topographical map where mutations are present. Hence, can predict the disease.
Nano pores (holes) allow DNA to pass through one strand at a time and hence DNA sequencing can be made more efficient.
Thus the shape and electrical properties of each base on strand can be monitored.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND CANCER DIAGNOSIS
Today cancer related nanotechnology research is proceeding on two main fronts.
Laboratory based diagnostics and in-vivo diagnostics and therapeutics. Nano scale devices are designed for laboratory use.
EX: 1-2 nm wide wires built on a macron scale silicon grid can be coated with monoclonal antibodies directed against various tumour markers.
CHALLENGES IN NANO TECHNOLIGY
Nano structures being large in number, accumulate in vital organs and also shows phenomenon like friction and sticking leading to toxicity problems.
Nano structures being small, the body may clear them too rapidly.
So, the overall benefit that nanotechnology has to offer medical science such as therapeutic and diagnostic applications.
These nanotechnologies reduce the side effects and associated toxicities due to radiation therapy or chemotherapy. However, plenty of research is still required especially focusing upon their toxicities and efficacy.
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