Aussies Use Nanotech to Battle Pancreatic Cancer

NanotechDown under some Scientists have been utilizing some exciting new tech – nanomedicine — that can take one of the deadliest of all cancers — pancreatic cancer. Nanotech can deliver drugs to targeted areas of the body.

Scientists have used “nanomedicine” to develop a very promising bit of technology. Getting gene-silencing drugs directly into the targeted area. Pancreatic cancer is the most chemo-resistant of all cancers, but when this new methodology was tested in mice, there was a 50% reduction in both tumor growth and spread.

This research was spearheaded by the University of New South Wales and published in the Biomacromolecules Journal. It is making waves in the pancreatic cancer world. A world where in Australia, where the research was conducted, most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are dead within three to six months, with the best chemotherapy drug available extending survival rates a mere 16 weeks.

One major reason pancreatic cancer proves so resistant to chemotherapy is a pancreatic tumor is composed of some 90% scar tissue, creating a barrier, a physical barrier, between the core tumor and the drugs trying to get at it.

Only recently an essential agent in pancreatic tumor growth was identified. The difficultly with specifically going after this gene is finding a mechanism to deliver drugs directly to it. To combat this problem, scientists created a nanomedicine therapy, which is a delivery system via a nanoparticle which is full of small RNA molecules (DNA photocopies of cells) that inhibt βIII-tubulin — a microtubule element of the tubulin family, exclusive to neurons. β-tubulin III is present or expressed in many kinds of cancer. Overexpression in clinical settings shows it encourages tumor aggressiveness and growth, as well as resistance to chemotherapy drugs.

The difficultly with specifically going after this gene is finding a mechanism to deliver drugs directly to it. To combat this problem, scientists created a nanomedicine therapy, which is a delivery system via a nanoparticle which is full of small RNA molecules (DNA photocopies of cells) that inhibt βIII-tubulin.

Scientists have shown that this nanoparticle is sophisticated enough to deliver proscribed doses of small RNA molecules directly to pancreatic tumors in mice, regardless of the presence of scar tissue. And once delivered, the RNA molecules inhibit βIII-tubulin. Hence, there is potential based on this research to develop nanomedicine tech that can be designed to inhibit any gene that aids in tumor growth and/or drug resistance.

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