Nanotech gives chemotherapy a needed consistency boost

Scientists at Michigan State University has developed a new way of regulating chemotherapy dosage with a bit of help of from nanotechnology.

Chemotherapy, as we all know, is very painful and often damages the body of the cancer patient. It is, after all, a treatment that causes huge “collateral damage” to other healthy cells even as the cancerous cells are being destroyed. This is the reason why accurate calculation and perfect delivery of the dosage is very important, as it could become fatal with the slightest misstep.

Bryan Smith, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Michigan State University, and his team have developed a supportive method that allows super-accurate monitoring of drug delivery within the patient’s body that uses his system. It involves the use of magnetic particle imaging (MPI) and the introduction of a nanoparticle composite, which is comprised of superparamagnetic particles and the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin.

Administering the nanoparticle composite requires it to be used as a contrast agent, presumably taken orally. Because of its superparamagnetic properties, it can be detected easily using an MRI. The composite is designed to degrade over time, or when a high MPI signal is detected. When it does, it releases Doxorubicin, and the iron oxide nanocluster disassembles. Doctors can then immediately locate the site where the drug has the most effect.

According to the press release, monitoring particle changes over time combined with gradual Doxorubicin administration via MPI allowed them to provide accurate dosage 100 percent of the whole time that it was given. It even provided them vital data that showed just how the drug was able to affect the body and/or destroy cancerous cells at each step of the treatment, nearly minute-by-minute.

This definitely is a game-changer in the realm of chemotherapy. As Bryan Smith puts it:

“Our translational strategy of using a biocompatible polymer-coated iron oxide nanocomposite will be promising in future clinical use.”

Indeed, if you can monitor at each step how drugs are administered, and how the drugs themselves treat the body along the way, accurate dosage and timing would simply become a non-issue. Even more promising, is that the treatment method has the potential to be automated, making the technology even more efficient in the long run.

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