Embolism - Drug
Delivery for Cancers
EMBOLISM - A NEW CANCER TREATMENT (PEOPLE CALL IT
SMART BOMB)

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who
devised the molecular size bomb (called smart anti-cancer bomb) tested
it in mice with skin or lung cancer. Mice given the treatment lived more
than three times longer than untreated rodents. Professor Ram
Sasisekharan, of MIT's Biological Engineering Division believes it could
have the same effect in humans.

The smart bomb uses nanotechnology which manipulates materials on a
molecular or atomic scale, to deliver anti-cancer agents to destroy the
tumour and anti-angiogenesis agents to block its blood supply.

After the bomb, which is like a balloon within a balloon, is injected into
the bloodstream it travels to the tumour and burrows deep inside. The
outer membrane then disintegrates and releases an anti-cancer agents
so the blood vessels feeding the tumour collapse. It's an elegant
technique for attacking the two compartments of a tumour, its vascular
system and the cancer cells

This "drug delivery system" may be able to minimize the anti-cancer
agents' side effects such as hair loss, vomiting, nausea and weight loss,
as the drug bomb is injected into the blood vessel feeding the tumour
cells. So, this drug delivery system is site-specific. Technically, this
system should decrease toxicity (of the drugs) and increase efficacy.

In his study, 80% of the mice treated with the nanocell bomb lived longer
than 65 days while rodents receiving the best chemotherapy lasted only
30.  And, mice that had no treatment died at 20 days.

The concept of this technique is similar to what is called embolism. Here
is one example shows how to use embolism to treat cancers.

Li H et al Sichuan University, China. encapsulated anticancer agent
cisplatin with biodegradable and non-antigenic albumin. The
cisplatin-loaded albumin microspheres, which were 56.3 microns in
diameter, were used for treating 7 patients with squamous carcinoma of
tongue by infusing through lingual artery. Concentration of the drug in
peripheral venous blood increased to the highest level in 90 minutes
after cisplatin-loaded albumin microspheres was infused through lingual
arterial and still could be detected until 10th day. The cisplatin
concentration in tumor tissue kept considerably stable and could be
detected until 17 days. They concluded that cisplatin-loaded albumin
microspheres had the effect of controlled release in vive. Effective and
steady local drug concentration played the role of killing tumor cells, the
low concentration in peripheral blood reduced the side effects of
cisplatin to minimum as well.
                             
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References

Smart bomb drug zaps cancer cells in mice, Reuters, AlertNet, Jul 27,
2005

Study on drug release after arterial embolism with cisplain-loaded
albumin microspheres in treating carcinoma of tongue. Hua Xi Kou
Qiang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2003 Apr 20;21(2):112-3, 139.
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