Nanoparticles Designed to Kill Cancer Cells from Within

Aug, 2021 - By WMR

Nanoparticles Designed to Kill Cancer Cells from Within

Researchers innovated new therapy to kill cancer cells from within by designing nanoparticles and penetrating them inside cancer tumours in the exposure of external X-rays.

Radiation therapy is one of the promising treatments against cancer. In the treatment, the DNA of the cancer cells is damaged by reactive oxygen species. However, the centre of tumours suffers oxygen insufficiency and thus limits the effectiveness of the treatment. To overcome this limitation, researchers from Kyoto University in Japan designed nanoparticles that would directly penetrate into cancer tumours and destroy them from within.

The researchers investigated on various techniques of radiation therapy to beat cancer cells. They designed nanoparticles that could penetrate inside cancer tumours. After infiltrating, these nanoparticles needed to be activated by external X-rays to kill cancer cells in tumours. This could be performed by applying various photoelectric effects, where a material responds to electromagnetic radiation by emitting electrons within it. The nanoparticles are formed of organosilica and contain iodine in their pores. When electrons are emitted, the iodine gets activated allowing electrons to trigger double-strand DNA break that kills the cancer cells.

The team undertook the trial of the technique by dispersing the nanoparticles through 3D models of cancerous healthy cells. They observed that the nanoparticles tended to assemble around the nuclei of the cancer cells. It was also noticed that X-ray radiation for 30 minutes was enough to remove all the cancer cells in the body within 3 days. The best outcomes were achieved by 33.2 keV of radiation level. Researchers stated that, used nanoparticles were also previously used to kill cancer from within by releasing drugs or reactive oxygen species, starving them of nutrients or altering the acidity of the region. However, now it is based on electron emission.

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