Science News

Scientists Make Cancer-busting Nanogenerators

Sun, 25th Nov 2001

Part of the show Cancer and Chemotherapy

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) have developed a molecular nanogenerator that uses radioactivity to kill cancer cells. These nanogenerators consist of a single radioactive atom contained inside a molecular cage and attached to an antibody that homes in selectively on cancer cells, carrying the radioactivity to the interior of the cancer cells which it destroys by blasting their DNA and proteins to pieces. The investigators tested the nanogenerators on cells in dishes from variety of human cancer cell types including leukaemia, lymphoma, breast, ovarian, and prostate. Dr. Scheinberg and his colleagues, who pioneered the work, also tested the treatment on mice with prostate cancer and lymphoma. Many of the animals had long-term survival, and all of them had their lives extended after a single treatment at a low dose. Although the mice treated with the drug seemed to experience no toxic side effects, the true test of whether this will become an effective therapy will not be known until those human trials begin. According to the researchers, the first disease likely to be tested will be lymphoma.
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