Cancer-fighting ‘missiles’ will attack tumours with magnets and ultrasound

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Russian scientists have developed tiny glowing missiles that can be guided into cancers.

The nanoparticles could help chemotherapy patients by making the treatments more targeted.

Researchers designed them to be magnetically guided into tumours and release their drug payload using focused ultrasounds.

They are said to be an example of "focal therapy" aimed at reducing the devastating side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

There are more than 166,000 cancer deaths in the UK every year, more than 450 every day, according to Cancer Research UK.

Nearly half of cases are treated with surgery, 45% followed by chemotherapy at 28% and 27% for radiotherapy.

The study said the nanoparticles allow cancer drug capsules to be guided by magnets and emit light so their "fluorescence" can be tracked with scanners.

They could also be used for diagnosing cancers and improving medical imaging and are now set to be tested on animals.

Scientists at Skoltech research institute in Moscow and Hadassah Medical Center developed the technology.

Professors Timofei Zatsepin from the Center for Life Sciences and Dmitry Gorin from Skoltech's Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials led the study.

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Prof Zatsepin said: "This technology should pass preclinical studies using animal models to evaluate therapeutic efficiency and safety of such drug delivery system. It will be the next step of our research."

The team used lab experiments and previous animal studies to show that their method was able to boost the targeted delivery of doxorubicin in the liver, using ultrasound to release the drug.

Prof Gorin explained the creation of their drug carriers – which have been dubbed nanomissiles – was based on two scientific methods.

The first, called "freezing induced method" known to work from previous studies, and a second, "layer by layer assembly" of the shell of the drug capsules.

Their paper has been published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.

  • Animals
  • Missiles
  • Cancer
  • Science
  • Russia

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