Nanotechnology in the Fight Against Cancer

Feb 05, 2010

A world-renowned medical researcher discusses the key role that nanotechnology has begun to play in the detection and treatment of cancer in an article that will appear in the March 2010 edition of Mechanical Engineering magazine.

Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., explains how advanced nanotech-based therapeutic agents possess characteristics that can effectively exploit the unique mechanical properties of cancer lesions and treat the various forms of the disease locally.

According to Ferrari, professor and chairman of the Department of and Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas Health Science Center, some engineered nano-particles have demonstrated the capability to deliver drugs only to areas affected by disease, in the process protecting healthy cells and reducing debilitating side effects.

An important insight in understanding how to treat cancer, Ferrari says, is that aspects of the disease such as malignancy, , and (which is the growth of new arteries to feed tumors) are mechanical phenomena pertaining to the motion and transport of blood and cells. Nanotechnology-based therapies currently under experimentation for cancer treatment take advantage of some of these mechanical properties to find new ways to attack tumors.

This constitutes a new field that Ferrari and his medical colleagues refer to as “transport oncophysics.”

Formulations of drugs made from nano-particles have shown the ability to overcome biological barriers -- for example, by leaking through the blood vessels inside a tumor -- to concentrate on localized cancers. Because of this, nanotechnology-based drugs may be used in smaller doses and are less likely to disperse to healthy parts of the body. Ferrari and his team at The University of Texas also have designed nano-particles called Multi-Stage Vectors, which offer great promise in targeting individual .

“We are on the brink of a new era in ,” asserts Ferrari in the forthcoming article, titled “Infernal Mechanism.”

“The level of specificity that can be achieved through the use of the conceptual model of as a mechanical disease - and through the power of the mechanical engineering design process - will result in greater therapeutic efficacy with reduced side effects,” he concludes.

Mauro Ferrari will speak on Feb. 8 at the First Global Congress on Nano-engineering for Medicine and Biology. The conference, sponsored by ASME, will open on Feb. 7 at the JW Marriott Houston, in Houston, Texas.

Explore further: Cut flowers last longer with silver nanotechnology

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mathematical Model Predicts Factors Driving Tumor Invasion

Jul 02, 2009

Tumors are complex collections of cells whose behavior has proven difficult to understand, let alone predict. As a result, oncologists are often surprised by how a particular patient responds to a given course of therapy.

Nanomedicine project to be tested in space

May 12, 2009

When a spacecraft launches from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in the future, its cargo will include a small box containing a nano-fluidics experiment designed by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

New 'bubble' targets only cancer cells

Feb 19, 2009

For millions of Americans with cancer, the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatment drugs can be devastating. But new drug-delivery research based on nano- and microtechnology from Tel Aviv University might provide ...

Scientists can predict nano drug outcome

Feb 05, 2009

Scientists including one from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston successfully predicted the outcome of a nano drug on breast tumors in a pre-clinical study. Their research could help determine which ...

Microbiologist hits pay dirt

Jun 22, 2007

The current edition of science journal Nature describes how Macquarie University microbiologist Dr Belinda Ferrari has been the first scientist worldwide to culture a particular family of bacteria in the lab, by growing it in ...

Stem cells as cancer therapy

Dec 26, 2006

It is widely hoped that neural stem cells will eventually be useful for replacing nerves damaged by degenerative diseases like Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis. But there may also be another use for such stem cells--delivering ...

Recommended for you

Cut flowers last longer with silver nanotechnology

10 hours ago

Once cut and dunked in a vase of water, flowers are susceptible to bacterial growth that shortens the length of time one has to enjoy the blooms. A few silver nanoparticles sprinkled into the water, might be the answer to ...

Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels

Aug 20, 2014

A simple and effective way of unravelling the often tangled mass of DNA is to 'thread' the strand into a nano-channel. A study carried out with the participation of the International School for Advanced Studies ...

Сalculations with nanoscale smart particles

Aug 19, 2014

Researchers from the Institute of General Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and MIPT have made an important step towards ...

Attack Ebola on a nanoscale

Aug 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 900 lives since February and has infected thousands more. Countries such as Nigeria and Liberia have declared health emergencies, ...

User comments : 0