Navigation Links
Early tests find nanoshell therapy effective against brain cancer

HOUSTON -- (Feb. 1, 2011) -- Rice University bioengineers and physician-scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have successfully destroyed tumors of human brain cancer cells in the first animal tests of a minimally invasive treatment that zaps glioma tumors with heat. The tests involved nanoshells, light-activated nanoparticles that are designed to destroy tumors with heat and avoid the unwanted side effects of drug and radiation therapies.

The results of the new study are available online in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology. The researchers reported that more than half of the animals that received the nanoshell treatment for glioma tumors had no signs of cancer more than three months after treatment.

"This first round of in vivo animal tests suggests that photothermal therapy with nanoshells may one day be a viable option for glioma patients," said study co-author Jennifer West, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering at Rice and chair of Rice's Department of Bioengineering. West cautioned that follow-up work in the laboratory is needed before any human testing of the therapy can begin. She said human clinical trials of nanoshell phototherapy for glioma are likely at least a year away.

Glioma is among the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat of all brain cancers. Fewer than five percent of glioma patients survive beyond five years. The disease is particularly difficult to treat because glioma tumors are often highly invasive and inoperable.

Study co-authors include pediatric oncologist Susan Blaney, deputy director of Texas Children's Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine professor and vice chair for research in the department of pediatrics, and Rebekah Drezek, professor in bioengineering at Rice. West, Blaney, Drezek and colleagues tested mice with abdominal tumors of human glioma cells. The researchers injected the mice with nanoshells and waited 24 hours for the nanoparticles to accumulate in the tumors. A laser of near-infrared light -- which is harmless to healthy tissue -- was shined at the tumor for three minutes. The nanoshells converted the laser light into tumor-killing heat. All seven animals that received the nanoshell treatment responded, but cancer returned in three. The other four remained cancer-free 90 days after treatment.

"The results of this study are encouraging, and we are cautiously optimistic that this process may bring us closer to finding a cure for glioma," said Blaney, also associate director for clinical research at Baylor College of Medicine's Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center and co-director of The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. "This is very exciting, especially given the poor prognosis of the disease and the importance of finding brain tumor treatment alternatives that have minimal side effects."

Gold nanoshells, which were invented by Rice researcher Naomi Halas in the mid-1990s, are smaller than red blood cells. Nanoshells are like tiny malted milk balls that are coated with gold rather than chocolate. Their core is nonconducting, and by varying the size of the core and thickness of the shell, researchers can tune them to respond to different wavelengths of light.

Houston-based biomedical firm Nanospectra Biosciences, which holds the license for medical use of Rice's nanoshell technology, began the first human clinical trial of nanoshell phototherapy in 2008.

West, a co-founder and director of Nanospectra Biosciences, said the new glioma study is part of a larger ongoing effort within the Texas Medical Center to adapt nanoshell phototherapy for use against a variety of cancers. Researchers at Rice, Texas Children's Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions are working to develop nanoshell-based treatments for prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.


Contact: Jade Boyd
Rice University

Related biology news :

1. Stevens strengthens Dominican Republics Early Warning System for Inundations
2. Reproducing early and often is the key to rapid evolution in plants
3. Early-stage gene transcription creates access to DNA
4. Global Viral Forecasting Initiative receives $11M to implement pandemic early warning system
5. Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants learning from speech
6. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy nearly doubles risk of having a heavy baby
7. Hypertension develops early, silently, in African-American men
8. Joslin research finds nearly three-quarters of youths with diabetes insufficient in vitamin D
9. Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
10. Water in the early universe
11. Haag honored with Presidential Early Career Scientists Award
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  BIOCLAIM announced today that ... year,s Fierce Innovation Awards:  Healthcare Edition, an awards ... , FierceHealthcare , and ... finalist in the category of "Privacy and Cybersecurity." ... --> Photo - ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... "Capacitive Fingerprint Sensors - Technology and Patent Infringement ... --> --> Fingerprint sensors ... in smartphones. The fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an ... units in mobile devices and of the fingerprint sensor ...
(Date:11/20/2015)... 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... growing mobile commerce market and creator of the Wocket® ... was recently interviewed on The RedChip Money Report ... weekend on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, Bloomberg ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: ... to the fostering and monetization of intellectual property, ... prospective initiatives designed to create shareholder value. ... of Spherix. "Based on published reports, the total ... $50 billion and Spherix will seek to secure ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Imagine Exhibitions and Universal Partnerships ... opening in March 2016 at Melbourne Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Immediately following the ... American tour dates. The Exhibition is based on Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, one ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), ... services to personalize the development and use of oncology ... Executive Officer, will be presenting at the LD MICRO ... Pacific Standard Time (PST).  The conference, held at the ... Angeles, CA , will feature 200 small/micro-cap companies ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 30, 2015 Human ... that the company has acquired Cypher Genomics, Inc., a ... robust human genomic interpretation software solutions. The ... will join HLI including Cypher CEO and Co-founder, Ashley ... of HLI,s Pediatric Business.  Financial details of the deal ...
Breaking Biology Technology: