Russian scientists close to finding a cure for cancer
Russian scientists of the Lomonosov university say that they are one step from creating a true cure for cancer. They are working with their European colleagues to develop a new method of treatment that utilizes nano technology to destroy malignant cells.
They have identified specific compounds that are capable of fighting virulent forms of cancer that can’t be treated and destroyed by chemotherapy. One such example is ovarian carcinoma, which is a dangerous malignant tumor. In November last year scientists isolated 12 of these compounds and proved that they can be used to slow down the spread and growth of cancer cells.
“We discovered a new, ‘lighter’ treatment that still can’t eradicate all of the cancerous cells”, says Andrey Svirdlov of the Lomonosov State University. “But judging by the results, it can help in destruction of intracellular organelles using nano-particles”.
This new method is made possible by advancements in nano-technology, which could help doctors and surgeons get access to cells and their components that couldn’t be modified or removed by conventional means. In this particular case, scientists inject nano-particles into the tumor, and then use a special laser to target cancerous cells. The main advantage of this technique is that it completely destroys malignant tissues, while leaving healthy ones intact.
Svirdlov and his colleagues use nano-particles made out of silicon and encrusted by a special polymer. They can be used both to scan, research and destroy cancerous cells in conjunction with ultrasounds.
“This is a great leap forward, because until now, we didn’t have a way to ‘guide’ the ultra sounds. Meaning that whenever an ultrasound was fired into the tissue, it spread uncontrollably, causing damage not only to cancerous cells, but to healthy ones as well”, Svirdlov explains. He adds that he and his team needed to find a way to “guide” and direct ultrasounds towards the cancerous cells.
“We came up with a simple solution. We added a layer of dextran, biopolymer and glucose to the silicon particles, which gave them the ability to deflect ultrasound. Now, we can align the silicon nano-particles in such a way that they reflect the ultrasound exactly into the cancerous tissue, causing it to die and decay, while leaving the rest intact. Another advantage od this technique is that it radiates a purple glow while in operation, giving us an opportunity to exam the entire process.”
This radical yet ingenious new method was tested on several cells of throat cancer. One group of cells was treat using the old technique, while the other one utilized nano-particles along with the ultrasound. The results show that a “clean” ultrasound therapy has very milited effect on the cancerous cells, while the new method works exactly as planned, killing malignant tissues and leaving the rest intact.
Svirdlov points out that the possibilities of this new technology are limitless. He already has an idea how to utilize it to improve drug and medication distribution inside the body, helping the cells recover before they even get affected and destroyed by cancerous tissue.