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Early tests find nanoshell therapy effective against brain cancer
Date:2/1/2011

articles 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.


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Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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