Researchers at the University of Georgia broke new ground in the fight cancer when they announced they’ve successfully used nanoparticles to target the mitochondria of breast cancer cells, which stops the cancer cell in its tracks. Now, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia (UNSW) have made the tiny robots a therapeutic and diagnostic tool, which can release drugs inside cancer cells and use flourescence imaging to see how widespread the cancer is within the body.
These nanoparticles are made from iron oxide, encapsulated in polymer, built to contain doxorubicin (DOX) and then release the drug in the acidic environment within the cancer cell. The inherent fluorescence of the drug DOX thus stands out using the iron oxide particles as a contrast agent.
According to chief researcher Cyrille Boyer from the UNSW School of Chemistry, this technique is simple bench chemistry in an intra-cellular mode. He says the findings are significant because “it allows us to determine the kinetic movement of drug release in a true biological environment.”