The use of nanoparticles to precisely deliver drugs to cancer tumors has been on the cutting edge of research for the past few years. Gizmag reports that some researchers at the University of Oregon have developed a promising method that will use nanoparticles to deliver three types of drugs to cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes at the same time.
The treatment that the researchers developed was targeted against melanoma, a skin cancer that spreads to the lymphatic system 80 percent of the time. These types of cancers are difficult to treat because of how the cancers spread through the lymphatic system and the toxicity of conventional chemotherapies.
The researchers injected mice with the nanoparticles, each of which contained two milligrams of each of the three drugs. The nanoparticles circulate through the lymphatic system, delivering the medication to each of the cancerous tumors. With three different drugs hitting the cancers at the same time, the tumors will not have a chance to build up a resistance to any one drug.
The mouse studies proved to have promising results, with the nanoparticles moving easily through the lymphatic system and lowering the number of cancers cells with no ill effects.
As with all such projects, more study will have to happen before biotechnology industry can bring the triple drug nanoparticle treatment to a clinical setting. The researchers will study the effect the treatment has on more aggressive cancers before moving on to human trials. But, with any luck, the war on cancer will have a new weapon ready to be deployed in a few years.
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