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Researchers effectively treat tumors with use of nanotubes
Date:8/3/2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. By injecting man-made, microscopic tubes into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second zap of a laser, scientists have discovered a way to effectively kill kidney tumors in nearly 80 percent of mice. Researchers say that the finding suggests a potential future cancer treatment for humans.

The study appears in the August issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). It is the result of a collaborative effort between Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Rice University and Virginia Tech.

"When dealing with cancer, survival is the endpoint that you are searching for," said Suzy Torti, Ph.D., lead investigator for the study and professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It's great if you can get the tumor to shrink, but the gold standard is to make the tumor shrink or disappear and not come back. It appears that we've found a way to do that."

Nanotubes are long, thin, sub-microscopic tubes made of carbon. For the study, researchers used multi-walled nanotubes (MWCNTs), which contain several nanotubes nested within each other, prepared for the study by the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. The tubes, when non-invasively exposed to laser-generated near-infrared radiation, respond by vibrating, creating heat. If enough heat is conducted, tumor cells near the tubes begin to shrink and die.

Using a mouse model, researchers injected kidney tumors with different quantities of MWCNTs and exposed the area to a three-watt laser for 30 seconds.

Researchers found that the mice who received no treatment for their tumors died about 30 days into the study. Mice who received the nanotubes alone or laser treatment alone survived for a similar length of time. However, in the mice who received the MWCNTs followed by a 30-second laser treatment, research
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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