Cancer is a scary disease and in some ways, so are its treatments. Chemotherapy, for example, uses a number of drugs lethal to cancer cells, but those same drugs can damage and kill healthy cells to. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati, Tongji University, and Stanford University however have developed a nanostructure that can be used to target cancer cells for chemotherapy, without threatening healthy cells.
The nanostructure has a special double-sided or Janus surface that allows chemicals to be attached to both the inside and outside. The inside is also porous, for holding still more drugs. These drugs can include biomarkers for identifying specific kinds of cancer and fluorescent markers, to make them easier to find for treatment. Chemotherapy drugs too can be stored in the nanostructure, to be delivered directly to the cancer cells, without harming any nearby, healthy cells.
While it is certainly obvious how this discovery could lead to improved and intelligent cancer treatments, it may also reduce costs. Nanostructures like the one developed are considerably less expensive to use than the MRI, PET, and CT machines currently used to diagnose cancers.
Source: University of Cincinnati