What is the Role of Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment ?
The research studies on cancer treatment can be broadly classified as either theoretical or clinical by nature. In the former, efforts are placed to know more about the characteristics of the ailment and gain more insights on the working mechanisms of the tumor cells. This approach indirectly helps in the development of effective treatment techniques.
In clinical research, the focus in more on coming out with techniques which can directly be administered on suffering cancer patients at the earliest. This article tries to gain insight on the topic – Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment.
Nanotechnology is a field of knowledge which tries to bring into use particles of extremely small size. When the size of a particle is of the order of 10-9 cms, it is called a nano particle. According to the laws of Physics, matter in such a state of existence has marvellous properties which can be brought to use with immense possibilities. Nanomedicine is a branch of study which tries to utilize this basic aspect of nanoparticles in addressing challenging ailments and conditions.
How Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment is a Possibility?
Cancer affects a particular site in the body initially. The toxins released by the malignant cells are capable of attacking new healthy cells and spreading to fresh locations of the body. This leads to the formation of chunk of malignant cells or tumors and initiation of the fatal process metastasis in the body.
If cancer can be diagnosed prior to the process of metastasis, it can be cured. But the challenge rests with its early diagnosis and the tumor cells are adept at causing the destruction of the body latently in the initial stages of the disease.
An amazing property of the nano-particles can run counter to our common sense. These particles can behave either as particles (occupying a specific location) or behave as waves (spread across a region). This property is in accordance to the wave-particle duality principle of Physics.
To resolve the confusion, we have the complementary principle which says that it depends on the choice of the investigator to choose the state of nano particle. As both the states hold good, the choice of a particular state should only make the explanation to follow, to be simple.
This aspect of nanoparticles can be used in cancer diagnosis and treatment in a better way. Presently, organic dyes are used to detect the tumors in the body through imaging techniques. Use of nanoparticles in the form of quantum dots along with diagnostic techniques like magnetic resonance imaging can produce exceptional images of sites with tumor with higher contrast.
Efficiently placing the tumor killing drug in a capsule, successful delivery of it to the intended site of tumor and successful release of the drug are the three basic factors expected from any promising cancer treatment technique.
These particles have more surface area than volume. This property can be used to place tumor seeking and destroying elements on these particles. Their small size would enable deeper penetration in the tumor and more effectiveness of the dosage injected.
How Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment Can be Realized?
Diagnosis of Cancer in Future: Malignant cells carry out their harmful tasks with the help of certain proteins. Current research on cancer has learnt a lot about these toxic chemicals. The present knowledge can be used in nanomedicine. Extremely small sized sensor test chips can be placed inside the drugs which can detect the presence of toxic proteins in the blood of the patient leading to an early diagnosis of the ailment.
Treatment of Cancer in Future: Present day treatment options of chemotherapy and radiation will be replaced by a promising new cancer treatment called the Kanzius RF therapy. Though it is still undergoing clinical trials, days of its human trials are inching closer.
The treatment would involve attaching very very small nanoparticles to cancer cells, which will literally cook tumors using radio waves in a targeted fashion without posing any threat to the existence of the surrounding healthy cells.
Sample Research on Nanotechnology in Cancer Treatment:
University of Michigan’s researcher James Baker claimed of developing a nanotechnology treatment for seeking and destroying cancer cells in 2006. He reported a molecule called Dendrimer with over one hundred hook-like structures in it. In some of the hooks, the researcher attached a vitamin, folic acid, released by the body, to attract the attention of the harmful cancer cells. These malignant cells have several vitamin sensing receptors in them.
This increased the possibility of the molecule being absorbed by the tumors. The researcher placed anti-cancer drugs in the rest of the hooks of dendrimer molecule. When the cancer cells absorbed this molecule after being attracted by the folic acid vitamin, anti-cancer drugs were successfully delivered within the core of the tumor destroying it without causing any threat to the nearby healthy cells.
Conclusion: For the people suffering from this dreadful disease and their loved ones, what matters is to get rid of it once and for all. They would appreciate a treatment option only if the life of their dear ones is guaranteed. Nanotechnology in cancer treatment definitely has the potential to ensure this desire of cancer sufferers.