With funding from the National Cancer Institute and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, researchers grew 24 prostate cancer tumors in 12 mice. They then separated the mice into groups receiving treatment with DNA-encased MWCNTs and laser, laser only, non-DNA-encased MWCNTs only, or no treatment.
The eight tumors treated with a single injection of DNA-encased MWCNTs and zapped with a 70-second burst from a three-watt laser were gone within six days after treatment. While a minor surface burn appeared at the site of laser treatment, it healed within a few days with antibiotic ointment, Gmeiner said.
The tumors in the other treatment groups showed no distinguishable reduction.
Using the DNA-encased MWCNTs increased heat production two- to threefold allowing researchers to use fewer nanotubes and a less powerful laser to kill tumors an important consideration as scientists determine potential issues with the toxicity of nanotubes, since they remain in the body after treatment, Gmeiner said.
Current thermal ablation, or heat therapy, treatments for human tumors include radiofrequency ablation, which causes regional heating between two electrodes implanted in tissue but cannot be used to selectively distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, like researchers hope they will be able to do with MWCNTs. In addition to the DNA-encased MWCNTs used in this study, other nanomaterials, such as single-walled carbon nanotubes and gold nanoshells, are also currently undergoing experimental investigation as cancer therapies.
Before treatment with MWCNTs can be tested in humans, studies need to be done to test the toxicity and safety, looking to see if the treatment causes any changes to organs over time, as well as the pharmacology of the treatment, to see what happens to the nanotubes, which are synthetic materials, over time.
|Contact: Jessica Guenzel|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center