Scientists find new cancer treatment using nano particles

Why in news? 

Indian scientists have come up with an innovative mode of cancer treatment using nano particles, under which the anti-cancer drug will directly target tumour cells without harming the healthy cells of the body.

Highlights 

• Scientists at the Department of Science and Technology have fabricated highly biocompatible porous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) nanoparticles as a versatile vehicle to deliver anti-cancer drugs to the nuclei of tumour cells without utilizing any intrinsic ligands (ions or molecules). The nucleus of any cell contains the majority of its genetic material.
• Anti-cancer drugs can be delivered to the nuclei of cells either in a free drug form, or via nano-vehicles-based delivery systems. Targeting the drugs directly to the required cellular compartments like nuclei reduces their non-specific interactions with other cell components which can limit their efficiency and cause side effects, scientists said.
• The research trials for prostate cancer in mice have shown promising results.
• “We experimented with ligand-free, enhanced intra-nuclear delivery of Doxorubicin (Dox), an anti-cancer drug, to different cancer cells via porous PDMS nano-particles. Dox was loaded into the pores of PDMS nano-particles. These Dox-loaded PDMS nano-particles showed enhanced cytotoxicity (the quality of being toxic to cancerous cells) in comparison to free Dox,” said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology. Sharma is also a part of the research team.
• The research originally done at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, showed that PDMS-Dox delivery system shows efficient and enhanced transportation of Dox to tumour cells which can be harnessed to develop advanced chemotherapy-based approaches to treat prostate and other cancers.
• Further, it was also found that DNA damage of the cancerous cells was more through nano particles in comparison to free Dox. The therapeutic efficiency of PDMS-Dox drug delivery system was tested in prostate cancer in mice which showed enhanced tumour reduction (66%) as compared to free Dox.
• The delivery of anti-cancer drugs directly to the nuclei of tumour cells can greatly enhance their therapeutic efficacy because the nucleus is the master regulator of numerous oncogenic hallmarks such as cell proliferation and apoptosis (the normal death of cells during growth).
• In addition to these, the nucleus is also responsible for the transcriptional regulation of oncogenes (cancerous genes) or tumour suppressor genes. Tumour suppressor gene is the one that protects a cell from one step on the path to cancer. When this gene mutates to cause a loss or reduction in its function, the cell can progress to cancer, usually in combination with other genetic changes.

Cancer

A disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue.
Most common types
• Breast cancerA -cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.
• Prostate cancer- A cancer in a man’s prostate, a small walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid.
• Basal cell cancer-A type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells.
• Melanoma-The most serious type of skin cancer.
• Colon cancer-A cancer of the colon or rectum, located at the digestive tract’s lower end.
• Lung cancer-A cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke.
• Leukemia-A cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection.
• Lymphoma-A cancer of the lymphatic system.

Cancer Statistics in India

• One woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India.
• For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India.
• As many as 2,500 persons die every day due to tobacco-related diseases in India.
• Smoking accounts for 1 in 5 deaths among men and 1 in 20 deaths among women, accounting for an estimated 9,30,000 deaths in 2010 .
• Estimated number of people living with the disease: around 2.5 million
• Every year, new cancer patients registered: Over 7 lakh
• Cancer-related deaths: 5,56,400

Cancer treatments

Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Most common types

• Breast cancer-Its treatment depends on the stage of cancer. It may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and surgery.
• Prostate cancer-Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly. In some of these cases, monitoring is recommended. Other types are aggressive and require radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments.
• Basal cell cancer-Treatments include prescription creams or surgery to remove the cancer. In some cases radiation therapy may be required.
• Melanoma-Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, medication or in some cases, chemotherapy.
Colon cancer-Colorectal cancer treatment depends on the size, location and how far the cancer has spread. Common treatments include surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Lung cancer-Treatments vary but may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy.
• Leukemia-Treatment is highly variable. For slow-growing leukaemias, treatment may include monitoring. For aggressive leukaemias, treatment includes chemotherapy that’s sometimes followed by radiation and stem-cell transplant.
• Lymphoma-Treatment may involve chemotherapy, medication, radiation therapy and rarely stem-cell transplant.
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