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New Cancer Drug Combines Photothermia and Chemotherapy

Research has led to the development of a new cancer fighting drug which combines photothermia and chemotherapy. The treatments most effective results are on sol.

A new cancer fighting drug has been developed that combines photothermia and chemotherapy.

The research was coordinated by Professor Eduardo Fernández Jover (Miguel Hernández University of Elche) and Pablo Botella, researcher at the Institute of Chemical Technology of Valencia.

The Spanish scientists developed the drug on a nanometric scale, and have been applying it to human glioma cell cultures under laboratory conditions.

The results are reportedly most interesting when treating melanoma and solid tumours of the nervous system like gliomas, which start in the brain or spine.

Photothermia and Chemotherapy Combo Drug

The new drug is made up of hybrid particles, which contain clusters of gold nanoparticles, each nanoparticle sized between one and one hundred nanometers. A covering of porous silica is used to protect the clusters, which incorporates camptothecin molecules; an anti-tumour drug.

When exposed to a biomedical laser, the gold nanoclusters absorb the light generated causing a significant localised elevation in temperature. Though organic tissues are practically unaffected by this radiation, the gold nanoclusters experience this photothermal activity, and this high internal stress means bad news for cancer cells. When the reaction takes place inside of a cancer cell, it is destroyed.

The increase of vascular permeability that is apparent at tumour level would increase the build up of nanoparticles in cancerous cells. The cells which could not be reached by a biomedical laser could be taken down by chemotherapeutic agents absorbed inside the porous silica that covers the nanoparticles.

Professor Eduardo Fernández explains that: “This ensures much greater effectiveness than traditional therapy, and the absence of side effects from the antitumor drug in other tissues.”

The drug is still in development, with initial phase of trials conducted on skin cultures now complete. The next intended preclinical stage will see it tested on animal models of skin cancer and gliomas, though the scientists report that it is still far too early to begin testing on humans.

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