Over the past 50 years, researchers have found many ways to kill cancer cells but very few ways to selectively kill them while sparing healthy tissue. This is why chemotherapy has such crippling side effects. Nanotechnology is one way to try to make cancer therapy less toxic, improving quality of life for thousands of patients and allowing treatment of previously untreatable tumors. Nanoparticles offer this hope because their tiny size (some are 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) is just right to carry chemotherapy drugs (which are smaller) into cancer cells (which are larger). City of Hope researchers are on the leading edge of developing therapies that take advantage of this targeting ability — in one study using nanotubes to deliver a molecule that stimulates the body’s own immune system to fight brain tumors; and in another, using nanoparticles to transport a molecule that stops ovarian and melanoma cells from growing and forming life-sustaining blood vessels.
Targeted therapy is the future of cancer therapy. While tremendous progress has been made in treating cancer with the tools we have today, nanoparticle therapy offers the hope of treating challenging cancer types and reducing the toxicity associated with current therapies.” Jacob M. Berlin, Ph.D.