Monday, 10 Nov, 2008 Science

Exploding Nanotubes to Completely Destroy all Tumors


Although surgery is the main treatment of cancer, there are cases when surgical intervention cannot help, i.e. when tumors have largely spread throughout the body or when they are hard to identify. For these cases doctors use chemo- and radiotherapy, which are able to destroy cancers but at the same time may lead to severe side effects.

A scientist from the University of Delaware, Newark, offers a new method of treating cancer with the help of exploding nanotubes. At first Balaji Panchapakesan suggests filling the carbon nanotubes with water and then injecting them into the body of the patient. Afterwards, a laser light zaps the area making the water within the nanotubes to boil. When the heating increases pressure inside the nanotubes, these nanobombs explode and destroy the nearby cells, reports NewScientist.

It is necessary to use the right wavelength and intensity of the laser light in order to be sure that the nanotubes burst before other tissue is damaged. The researcher already managed to turn his idea into life by using the exploding nanotubes to destroy BT474 cells, which is a cell line that comes from a breast tumor.

Scientists will be able to develop exploding nanotubes to identify and destroy tumors by labeling them with an antibody that refers to particular cancer cell receptors. Panchapakesan also said that a chemotherapy drug adjoined to the water would be able to destroy any cells that managed to survive. The researcher considers that such treatments will involve minimal invasion, which in its turn means quick recovery and fewer side effects.

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