The use of nanomaterials in the fight against cancer
Cancer remains a scourge of the modern world. Despite all the efforts of doctors and scientists, there is still a large percentage of mortality. Not all types of tumors are easy to treat, and medicines and operations are very expensive, which is often not affordable for an ordinary patient. Science is struggling to discover new ways to get rid of cancer, and one of these recently found solutions has been the use of nanomaterials.
Recent research in the field of cancer treatment indicates that therapy directed against tumors is much more effective when the affected area is not affected by some drug, but the so-called immunogenic form of response. This refers to the process when the body itself includes protective mechanisms. But then the question arises, how to start these reactions when a person is exhausted? The use of nanomaterials may be useful here.
If we speak the scientific language, the immunogenic form of death of cancer cells implies the inclusion of two mechanisms – apoptosis or necrosis. In this case, bad tissues are destroyed, as it works in a healthy body, when, say, a person is infected with the flu – antibodies are produced that kill hostile cells. But when a patient gets cancer, this process is disrupted, and the protective function is not included.
How can the use of nanomaterials help?
The authors of the new work noted in the publication Biochimica et Biophysica Acta that for forced start of immunogenic fight against cancer, nanoparticles of silicon, carbon or gold can be used. Trace elements in this case play the role of “couriers” for the delivery of substances that increase the positive effect of therapy and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. This triggers a chain reaction – dying cancer cells transmit a signal to neighbors, and thus the tumor self-destructs.
Also nanomaterials have another advantage – they can be used for point delivery of drugs. Thus, in contrast to classical methods of therapy, these tools will only work in the focus of the disease, and not to affect its destructive effect of the entire body. It will greatly increase the level of comfort of the patient, allow him to lead an almost normal life during the treatment, and not suffer from constant nausea and weakness.
In the course of their work, scientists carried out many calculations, processed existing studies on this topic in recent years. Researchers prepare to conduct experiments on animals, and if they are right, this method can be introduced on a permanent basis in the leading cancer clinics of the world.
Of course, the use of nanomaterials will not be a panacea for the treatment of cancer. But mini-helpers at least be able to alleviate the general condition of the patient, allow him to feel more comfortable while taking medications. And, if all goes well, trace elements will trigger a chain immune response of the body, so that he actively struggled with the disease. No medicines will not be stronger than the internal defense mechanisms of human – and nanomaterials should launch and accelerate them.