Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Medical Wonder

Dr. Karen Wooley and her colleagues at Washington University are developing chemo-toxins delivered by nanoparticles to combat brain tumors. (The blood brain barrier makes it difficult to effectively deliver many compounds inside the brain. Nanoparticle technologies promise a way to get around that.)
Some of the properties of the nanoparticle important to Wooley's group are its carrying capacity and the way it releases the cancer toxin into the body. Most polymeric based nanoparticles have at best a three to four percent drug capacity. Wooley's group's particles boast an up to 19 percent loading, five times the typical delivery vehicle's capacity. While the large increase in toxin is beneficial, not all of the toxin in these particles will be released.

Another difference is the rate at which the drug is released into the patient. Most cancer-targeting nano and macroparticles verily explode a cancer cell in one way or another. The WU group's particles are designed to release the toxin more slowly over time. The group is working to tune these properties further, allowing a tailored particle delivery vehicle.

Kudos to another hero of medical science.

[Hat tip to Daily Tech]

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