Noninvasive infrared cancer therapies combine the unique physical and optical properties of nanoshell or nanoparticles with a near infrared laser source to thermally destroy cancer tissue without significant damage to surrounding healthy tissue. So far, several laboratory studies prove very promising results of 100% complete eradication of tumors without any known side effects, preliminary FDA reports.
The incidence rates of cancer of the liver, pancreas, kidney, esophagus, and thyroid have continued to rise, as have the rates of new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and childhood cancers. The incidence rates of cancer of the brain and bladder and melanoma of the skin in women, and testicular cancer in men, are rising, reports National Cancer Institute 2010.
The potential benefits of nanoparticle cancer treatment are highly selective and rapid tumor destruction with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that it is effective and causes no detectable systemic toxicity. Additionally, this therapeutic device may be used in combination with and could increase the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and radiation. Alternative Fighting Cancer with Magnetic Nanoparticles VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUh1gHG2jns&feature=related
What Are Nanoshells? – A nanoshell is made up of a few million atoms forming silica particles, essentially tiny glass particles too small to see with the naked eye. So it’s larger than typical proteins or DNA. The nanoshell can cross the width of the smallest capillary in the human body. A chemical is introduced to the nanoshell that enables researchers to build-up (attach) gold metallic deposits that ultimately form a gold shell around the glass core. Companies such as Izon’s aNano provide nanoparticle research instruments that provide previously unavailable particle detection and measurement capabilities, tunable from micro to molecular scales. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLNpDfPXQzE&feature=related
The key innovation with nanoshells is the ability to tune their color from the visible using the dimensions of the core and the shell to different regions of the spectrum. Therefore, it can tune away from the visible region and into the near-infrared region of the spectrum. Doctors are able to heat up very precise targeted areas of interest such as tumors. So by using an infrared light from the surface of the skin it can penetrate deep (10 centimeters) deep into the body. It heats up the tumor eradicating it passing through the body as waste. Gold Nanoparticles and Cancer Cell Detection VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyhxRIvw_cY
Nanoshell therapy is comprised of three components:
- an off-the-shelf near infrared laser source,
- an off-the-shelf interstitial fiber optic probe for delivery of the laser energy to a site near or inside the tumor, and
- the investigational nanoshell particles, a near-infrared absorbing, inert material designed to absorb and convert the laser energy into heat.
The nanoshell treatment may be used with an FDA-cleared laser that emits near infrared energy with the clinical study specified parameters (power, duty cycle, treatment time) and with an FDA-cleared fiber optic probe for energy. Nanoshell particles consist of a gold metal shell and a non-conducting, or dielectric, silica core and serves as the exogenous absorber of the near infrared laser energy delivered by the fiber.
Nanoshell particles are administered intravenously and because of their small size they are specifically able to enter the tumor through its leaky vasculature. This process is known as the enhanced permeability and retention effect and is well documented for many solid tumors. The particles are unable to exit normal vasculature and therefore do not accumulate in healthy tissue.
After the particles accumulate in the tumor, the area is illuminated with a near-infrared laser at wavelengths chosen to allow the maximum penetration of light through tissue. The nanoparticles are specifically designed to absorb this wavelength and convert the laser light into heat. This results in the ablation of the tumor.
History of Nanoshells – Dr. Naomi Halas Ph. D, a professor at Rice University, invented the tiny (Nanoshell) particles, with a glass core and gold covered shell, in the 1990′s. Now Halas and her colleagues have figured out a way to make nanoshells smarter. They’ve attached a bright fluorescent dye to the particles that make them glow under infrared light. They’ve also added a magnetic shell that makes the particles visible to MRI. In addition, researchers can now attach antibodies to the nanoparticles that help them hone-in on a variety of cancer cells.
“If you try to do the same thing with molecules or with drugs, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to attach several different functions to the same drug without disrupting its first function. But with nano-particles you have a nice platform that you can add several different things to it and still preserve the primary function of the nano-particle itself.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3209/03-nanoshells.html
At this point, laser light converts that light to heat, and then kill tumor cells with that heat. Halas says being able to watch the progress of the nanoparticles, both optically and magnetically, is crucial to manage the process.
”In terms of being able to facilitate medical treatments with this approach, this type of tool is going to be very good. It gives eyes to the medical research. It gives two sets of eyes to the medical research, the optical eyes and the magnetic eyes. Those in combination complement each other so more information will be available using this approach.” http://www.tcrt.org/c3018/c4130/Nanoshell-Enabled-Photonics-Based-Imaging-and-Therapy-of-Cancer-p-33-40-p12032.html
FDA Nanoparticle Trials - The future of nanoshell cancer treatment involves exhaustive studies on hundreds of varying subjects and optimize the shape and the surface properties of these nanoshells so that it gets favorable bio-distribution where most of the stuff retains in the tumor and its clear of the liver and kidneys to the body. Once that is done, it should be ready for pursuing the FDA approval (5-7 years) process for these researchers working with clinicians and planning further human trials.
Nanoshell particles are investigational at this current time and only available through designated FDA sanctioned clinical study sites. http://www.fda.gov/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/RunningClinicalTrials/default.htm
Some Leading Nanoparticle Biotech Companies
- Elan Drug Technologies’ NanoCrystal® technology
- Abraxis BioScience (ABBI)
- Nanospectra BioScience
- Calando Pharmaceuticals