We have all known cancer to be a seriously deadly disease. However, what makes cancer deadlier is the spread of the primary tumour. Primary tumours can be treated using radiation or surgery but they make life a lot tougher if they remain untreated and migrate to a healthy tissue. Finding them is rather improbable, let alone killing them. It seems like this trend is about to change, though. Provided that the research by Micheal King and others at Cornell University lives up to its expectations, there would be every reason to believe Nanoparticles cause cancer cells to die and stop spreading.
Scientists have been on the lookout for an effective way to neutralize the effects of cancer cells for years. However, all those endeavors have been unfruitful as the cells would resist these trials. A protein, TRAIL, was also used in the process but the cancer cells could conveniently suppress its receptors.
Micheal King and his team attached sticky proteins along with TRAIL to nanoparticles to produce a cure. Once injected into the bloodstream, these nanoparticles stick to the white blood cells and destroy the freely spreading cancer cells upon slight contact.
Successfully hunting the migrating cells and making sure that they were neutralized upon contact were two major challenges that the team confronted. To tackle these, it deliberately designed fat-based nanoparticles that were really tiny. Secondly, the attached sticky proteins that latched on to white blood cells included: E-selectin and TRAIL.
The reason behind attaching these nanoparticles to white blood cells was to have the body excrete them easily so as to increase the chances of bumping into cancer cells. Similar to tendencies of white blood cells, cancer cells tend to stick to the edges of a blood vessel. This makes it easier for nanoparticles to come into contact and bind their TRAIL receptors.
The team is pleased after having successfully treated these on a group of mice; however, it is aiming for more breakthroughs before giving it a go-ahead for the benefit of patients.