From the hair loss, to the nauseating fatigue, or the never ending pills, cancer treatment is nothing less than dreadful. Chemotherapy in itself attacks healthy cells as well as the malignant ones causing the symptoms mentioned above. But what if there was a way to treat cancer without the side effects? What if there was a way to target the malignant cells by themselves?
Well Adah Almutairi, co-director of the Center for Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has created a technology that involves light-activated nano-particles that just might do that. Using matter on a scale of 100nm (nano-meters) Adah placed drugs molecules into nano-spheres, when these nano-spheres are released for treatment, the molecules will remain inside the spheres stopping the drugs from causing any harm to the healthy cells. When exposed to near-infrared light the capsule breaks apart releasing the contents within. If they can perfect the control over when and where the drugs are needed, drug uptake will increase, and the side effects will be reduced.
The impact of this technology will greatly benefit society for both patients and the pharmaceutical industry. By creating safe, non-toxic, biodegradable materials, Almutairi’s research exploring uncharted areas in the science of efficient nano-based drug delivery, but it’s only just the beginning. Nano-technology is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come. With the benefits this offers, funding will increase, clinical trials and patents will follow. If they perfect the use of nano-technology the medical field will be changed for the better.