Glioblastoma multiforme is a cancer that's as deadly as it sounds. It's the most common and aggressive brain tumour in adults that's especially difficult to remove surgically — but we now have a technique to treat it.
It's so tricky to remove because the tumour cells invade the surrounding, healthy brain tissue. Victims typically die within a few months of diagnosis, and just six in every 100 patients make it past the five-year mark. The new "trojan horse" treatment involves using tiny nano particles containing both gold and cisplatin, a conventional chemotherapy drug, according to Phys.org. Here's how the process works:
These [particles] were released into tumour cells that had been taken from glioblastoma patients and grown in the lab. Once inside, these "nanospheres" were exposed to radiotherapy. This caused the gold to release electrons which damaged the cancer cell's DNA and its overall structure, thereby enhancing the impact of the chemotherapy drug.
Apparently, the process was super-effective, and 20 days later all evidence pointed to cancer cells being completely destroyed, leaving healthy tissue unharmed.
The study was led by Mark Welland, Professor of Nanotechnology and a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge, and Dr Colin Watts, a clinician scientist and honorary consultant neurosurgeon at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Head over to Phys.org for more fascinating insights. [Phys.org]
Picture: M. Welland via Phys.org