Professor Warren Chan from the University of Toronto has spent the last decade figuring out the ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs into cancerous tumors and nowhere else.
His team has created shape-shifting nanoparticles attached to strands of DNA that can pinpoint tumors. Through targeted drug delivery, these nanoparticles are directed at tumors without affecting the rest of the body.
The most common form of cancer treatment is chemotherapy. Usually, these drugs are administered into the bloodstream. These drugs spread in the blood and target fast-growing cells wherever they find them, including tumors. However, hair follicles, skin cells, and the ones lining your digestive system also have fast-growing cells. Therefore, these treatments result in horrible side effects like stomach pain, nausea, and hair loss.
The research team studied how normal treatments work and how different DNA signatures can provide markers for cancer. After a long study, they came up with shape-shifting nanoparticles which are made of metal with DNA strands fixed to them. Chan said, “We’re making shape-changing nanoparticles. They’re a series of building blocks, kind of like a LEGO set.”
This research is a big step for cancer treatment since the treatment will be more effective and more precise. However, there is still a lot of research to be done before we can see this treatment in hospitals around the globe.