Mesothelioma results from a microscopic strand of asbestos, and all the damage that tiny fragment of mineral can cause.
The way to beat mesothelioma might be even smaller.
United Kingdom researchers believe gold nanotubes could treat mesothelioma. These bullet-shaped creations are one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
However small they are, these nanotubes apparently pack a cancer-fighting punch.
According to the University of Cambridge research team, they absorb light once inside cancer cells. The result is the nanotubes overheating and causing the cells they’re within to die. So the nanotubes apply methodologies of both photodynamic therapy and virotherapy, two emerging novel treatments for mesothelioma.
Virotherapy injects a virus-like substance into the tumor environment. However, these viruses are programmed to steer clear of healthy cells and focus only on harmful ones. They perform their cell-killing process in a way that helps the body survive.
Photodynamic therapy uses laser light to activate sensitive drugs attached to tumor cells. This activation causes a cancer-killing reaction.
These nanotubes pair those two methods together in one approach.
The University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds scientists learned that the nanotubes reside close to the cancer cells’ nucleus and DNA. The team then used laser light to penetrate the mesothelioma cells and tissue. The nanotubes absorb the light and defeat the cells from the inside.
How do the nanotubes enter the mesothelioma cells? The answer is simple: The cancer cells act like cancer cells.
The mesothelioma cells “eat” the nanotubes, just as they expand and overtake healthy tissue and particles in the human body. Only this time, the cancer’s natural inclination to infest everything within the body is its undoing.
The next evolution involves attaching other therapies to the nanotubes, creating a two-part virotherapy:
- Acting as a virus to kill cancer cells
- Delivering other cancer-killing medicines like immunotherapy into the cells
People with mesothelioma should stay knowledgeable of investigative and promising therapies like these nanotubes. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation were the only options for decades, but immunotherapy and tumor treating fields are new additions for patients.
The more choices someone has for therapy, the better their survival chances are. However, knowledge of how each treatment works is crucial to determining the right course of action in each individual case.
If you want help determining treatment for your mesothelioma, contact our patient advocate team. You can reach our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources & Author
- Tiny golden bullets could help tackle asbestos-related cancers. EurekAlert. Retrieved from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoc-tgb102620.php. Accessed: 10/29/2020.
Sources & Author