Cancer is, unfortunately, a common topic for many discussions because of how many people it affects. Luckily common topics of discussion are also common topics of research so there is constantly work being done to develop the next new treatment. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have made an important discovery that could greatly impact the future of cancer treatments.
Many researchers have been looking for and thinking of ways modern technology, especially nanotechnology, could be used to combat cancer. This includes nanodevices that can directly attack the cancer cells and those that will target the cells to deliver medicine to. What the researchers have done is created the first nanodevice that combines both of those techniques. The nanodevice self-assembles with the help of some DNA and thanks to a targeting molecule, will seek out cancer cells, and not healthy cells. Once at the cancer cell, near-infrared light can be used to trigger the release of the medicine and heat up a gold nanorod. Together, the heat and the medicine can attack and destroy the cancer cells.
This technology is still in a pre-clinical phase though, so there is more testing to do before it can be tested in human patients, but this is definitely a promising approach. Such a combination of attack strategies could be very effective.