Nanotechnology and cancer

New research from scientists at the City College of New York, USA has used nanotechnology to diagnose and identify different cancer types. The study tricked the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), an over-expressed receptor in tumours, into accepting some Quantum Dots (Qdots) into brain cancer cells in the form of a virus.

By allowing the Qdots into the cancer cells the scientists are able to label the cells molecularly and it is hoped that this could allow for rapid identification of the cancer type meaning that patients could have individualised treatments depending on the cells’ potential resistance to chemotherapy.

Another study by researchers from Polytechnique Montreal, Canada has used nanotechnology to change the genetic material within cancer cells, preventing them from migrating and forming metastases. The method used a ‘light scalpel’ comprised of laser and gold nanoparticles to perform surgery on a nano-metric scale. The authors of the study, led by Professor Meunier, hope that these new advances in nanotechnology could lead to new therapeutic approaches in the field of oncology but also neurology and cardiology.

For more information about nanotechnology, please read this article by Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Ash Mosahebi, who explains in plain English what nanotechnology is.

Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Relating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. Full medical glossary
glandular fever Full medical glossary
A chemical that stimulates new cell growth and maintenance in the body. Full medical glossary
Secondary tumours’ that result from the spread of a malignant tumour to other parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A microscopic particle of matter that is measured on the nanoscale, usually one that measures less than 100 nanometers. Full medical glossary
The ability of a microbe, such as a type of bacteria, to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs. Full medical glossary
septic arthritis Full medical glossary
An abnormal swelling. Full medical glossary
A microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. Full medical glossary