New Nanotechnology Application for Difficult-to-Treat Cancers

A new treatment combining shock waves with nanoparticles can successfully treat tumors that are difficult to target using conventional chemotherapy. This is the first time this combined therapy has been tested in live animals. The findings of this pre-clinical study, published online on May 9, 2017 in the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer, could lead to the development of more effective therapies for treating life-threatening cancers in the future. The open-access article is titled “Combining Doxorubicin-Nanobubbles and Shockwaves for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Treatment: Preclinical Study in a Xenograft Mouse Model.” Nanoparticles can be effective carriers of drugs to the tumor site through the blood stream. The particles contain the chemotherapy drugs and deliver them directly to the tumor, which reduces toxic side effects and enhances the effectiveness of treatments. However, in some cancers drug delivery can be compromised due to the disruption of tumor blood flow. To overcome this problem, researchers led by Dr. Graziella Catalano at the University of Turin (photo) in Italy, designed a treatment that combines extracorporeal shock waves (ESW) and nanobubbles (NBs). ESW are sound-like waves that can be focused with high precision, so that the cancerous cells more readily absorb the drugs.
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