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Posted: Sep 25, 2013
Silica nanotubes target cancer cells
(Nanowerk News) A new type of silica nanotubes can home in on cancer cells and deliver powerful drugs that combat this defiant disease.
Nanotechnology is increasingly being considered for use in targeted drug therapy. Employing minute particles to deliver therapeutic and diagnostic agents to selectively target cancer sites in the body could prove effective. The EU-funded project 'Multifunctional composite silica nanotubes for targeted delivery' (MUCOSINT) aimed to overcome challenges in synthesising nanoparticles with the desired size and function.
The project envisioned a new class of non-spherical nanoparticles known as multifunctional composite silica nanotubes (MuCoSiNT) for targeted therapeutic delivery applications. MuCoSiNT members worked on creating a manufacturing method that yields precise control over particle dimensions and functionalities.
Specifically, researchers fabricated silica nano test tubes (SiNTs) and filled the relatively large inner voids with a unique gel to create composite SiNTs, or CoSiNTs. These composite gel matrices contained doxorubicin (DOX) hydrochloride (drug) along with other components for targeted delivery of imaging and therapeutic agents.
MUCOSINT was able to identify anti-tumour activities and in vitro cytotoxicities of these particles by assessing cellular viabilities and growth inhibition profiles. Project results clearly demonstrated that one particular MuCoSiNT type was very effective in killing tumour cells and had great potential for cancertreatment. The project team also showed that lower DOX concentrations were needed to cause cell death when compared to mainstream strategies.
These valuable results were discussed in several conferences, presentations and journals. In addition, three university visits to the United States were realised to further collaboration on the topic. Although the technology still has years to go before clinical application for cancer treatment, these positive results may revolutionise anti-cancer strategies. This approach could bring potential relief to millions and save many lives.