'Smart' nanoparticles identify, target and kill cancer cells
Another weapon in the arsenal against cancer has been invented at Cornell: nanoparticles that identify, target and kill specific cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
Led by Carl Batt, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Food Science, the researchers synthesized nanoparticles -- shaped something like a dumbbell -- made of gold sandwiched between two pieces of iron oxide. They then attached antibodies that target a molecule found only in colorectal cancer cells to the particles. Once bound, the nanoparticles are engulfed by the cancer cells.
"This is a so-called 'smart' therapy," Batt said. "To be a smart therapy, it should be targeted, and it should have some ability to be activated only when it's there and then kills just the cancer cells."
The goal, said lead author and biomedical engineering graduate student Dickson Kirui, is to improve the technology and make it suitable for testing in a human clinical trial. The researchers are now working on a similar experiment targeting prostate cancer cells. FOR MORE DETAILS GO TO: