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Golden Nanocages To Put the Heat On Cancer Cells

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the hot-in-here-or-is-it-me dept.

Biotech 97

ElectricSteve writes "Researchers have been searching for a highly targeted medical treatment that attacks cancer cells but leaves healthy tissue alone. The approach taken by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis is to use 'gold nanocages' that, when injected, selectively accumulate in tumors. When the tumors are later bathed in laser light, the surrounding tissue is barely warmed, but the nanocages convert light to heat, killing the malignant cells. ... Although the tumors took up enough gold nanocages to give them a black cast, only 6 percent of the injected particles accumulated at the tumor site. They would like that number to be closer to 40 percent so that fewer particles would have to be injected. They plan to attach tailor-made ligands to the nanocages that recognize and lock onto receptors on the surface of the tumor cells. ... The scientists at WUSTL have just received a five-year, $2.1M grant from the National Cancer Institute to continue their work with photothermal therapy." Note that Gizmag features a stupid Subscribe nag that covers your screen after about a minute; sounds like a job for NoScript. Last year we discussed somewhat similar research using titanium dioxide nanoparticles to target a particular kind of brain cancer.

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97 comments

Gold cure sickness (1)

YayaY (837729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492196)

So gold and money cure sickness. That's a news!

Re:Gold cure sickness (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492212)

Not always. Sometimes money can be used to exacerbate problems. For example, the title reads:

Golden Nanocages To Put the Heat On Cancer Cells

While it should read:

Steel Niggercages To Put the Heat In Jail Cells

The former throws money at a problem in the hopes of fixing it. The latter throws money at a problem hoping to keep it down because everything is the man's fault.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492484)

I hope you're being sarcastic, 'cause health has ALWAYS been for people with money.

Re:Gold cure sickness (3, Informative)

YayaY (837729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492528)

Please forget my ignorance. I'm canadian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada [wikipedia.org]

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

meyekul (1204876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493518)

Please forget my ignorance. I'm canadian.

Let me explain it for you then. You see, whenever you get something for nothing, it generally sucks.

Re:Gold cure sickness (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493790)

I'm sorry, where is the logic there?

Have you ever had your eyes open for the last 20 years about anything in existence?

free on computing: it generally rocks
free on healthcare: it generally rocks
free food: that sucks?

I'm an american and I think you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Re:Gold cure sickness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494226)

Free health care rocks? didn't you read the Canadian above? or the guy in the UK that called the police because he was being neglected at the hospital, and then proceeded to die because noone gave him any water?

And the secret word for the post is "recall" how appropriate.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494570)

Or my Dad, who has had a quad bypass, dual bypass, and now a pacemaker/defrib but still has retirement savings and a home?

Or my Mom, who had surgery for lung cancer and radiation therapy for the brain cancer, starting less than a month after she was initially diagnosed?

I had health issues last year, but none of it was life threatening, and all it took to fix was being a polite squeaky wheel.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

sarlos (903082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494284)

Free healthcare and free food are free as in beer -- someone somewhere has to eat the cost of it. Even 'free' when it comes to computing is rarely really free... When we run out of other people's money to spend on things, well, then your free healthcare and free food are going to suck.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494484)

Free healthcare works pretty much the same as the insurance companies: it's about averages. Everyone pools in a bit of dough, and it gets redistributed to the ones who need it at that moment.

There are obviously a few differences:
  * Because the pool is so large (whole-country level), the individual donation will be less
  * The state may occasionally or regularly pour some more money in because there's an imbalance. Given that that comes from your taxes anyway, that's still everyone paying for the system to work.
  * There's no coporate middleman filling their and the shareholders' pockets, so more money can go to actual healthcare

Yep, sucks.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

sarlos (903082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494954)

Then explain to me the rationing that occurs in every nation with socialized health care? There never seems to be enough of other people's money (aka - taxes) to pay enough. The answer always seems to be that not enough money is being spent, yet despite ballooning costs, no nation has yet solved the problem. America still serves as the emergency room for the wealthy who can afford to get cutting edge treatments, and America still makes most major medical and drug breakthroughs. I don't know about you, but this tells me we may be doing something right, and maybe we should do more of that, instead of following the failed example of socialized, government mandated and funded healthcare.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31495150)

Given that I'm not in the industry, I'm not aware of such data and would very much like to see sources for your claims. Merely shouting "we're the best" doesn't make it so.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

sarlos (903082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496142)

Let's start with the anecdotal -- more Americans have won the Nobel prize for Medicine than any other ethnicity:
http://history1900s.about.com/library/misc/blnobelmed.htm [about.com]

Here's a great analysis by the Heritage Foundation regarding where increased costs are coming from with regards to paying for health care:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/02/Bending-the-Curve-What-Really-Drives-Health-Care-Spending [heritage.org]

Here's a good paper that looks at research priorities in different countries, among other things:
http://www.stockholm-network.org/downloads/publications/Health_Technology_Assessment_in_Context.pdf [stockholm-network.org]
Among other things, they conclude:

Where consumers in the US have a wide range of drugs available to them European consumers are far more restricted in their choice. Although countries with nationalised health services believe that their healthcare systems prioritise the interest of citizens, HTA is in fact used as a precursor to supply-side restrictions on pricing and reimbursement.

Here are some other good articles:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/02/Comparative-Effectiveness-in-Health-Care-Reform-Lessons-from-Abroad#_ftn32 [heritage.org]
http://www.adamsmith.org/publications/health/funding-uk-healthcare/ [adamsmith.org]
http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/hpcgSystems.pdf [civitas.org.uk]

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31495728)

Then explain to me the rationing that occurs in every nation with socialized health care? There never seems to be enough of other people's money (aka - taxes) to pay enough.

As soon as you explain to me the rationing that occurs with every health insurance company. There never seems to be enough of other people's money (aka - premiums) to pay enough.

Let's face it, we're already paying in to a system that rations care. The difference is that this care is selective, so as soon as one person costs 'too much' (often through no fault of their own, except unfortunate genetics) the plan drops them and puts that money toward an executive bonus. That's supposed to be the risk the insurance provider takes when they offer care, so they shouldn't be allowed to drop them.

The system isn't going to get any worse, why shouldn't we extend the same level of care to everyone?

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496012)

Then explain to me the rationing that occurs in every nation with socialized health care?

Ahh, the good ol' "rationing" bogeyman. That lovely talking point of the right, cleverly phrased to bring back memories of food and water shortages. Much scarier than the more accurate word to describe this: triage.

Pro-tip: Unless you have a doctor, nurse, equipment, facilities, etc, for every single patient in the system, there will *always* be "rationing", no matter how the system is structured.

Seriously, get your head out of your ass. It's a nice, bright world outside the confines of your dark, dank colon.

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

sarlos (903082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496294)

I linked this in another post here, but this is a good look at funding and availability structures and, yes, rationing, under government run health care systems:

http://www.stockholm-network.org/downloads/publications/Health_Technology_Assessment_in_Context.pdf [stockholm-network.org]

Europe is burdened by its historical commitment to expanding entitlement with the result that HTA is increasingly performed with cost-containment in mind. Interest in HTA in Europe and Canada has increased because of the need to justify expenditure on technology, particularly where countries lack their own domestic pharmaceutical industry, and because the combined pressures of ageing populations and more demanding consumers are exerting cost pressures on governments at the very same moment as the tax base is shrinking or static.

Where consumers in the US have a wide range of drugs available to them European consumers are far more restricted in their choice. Although countries with nationalised health services believe that their healthcare systems prioritise the interest of citizens, HTA is in fact used as a precursor to supply-side restrictions on pricing and reimbursement.

Re:Gold cure sickness (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496494)

Ah, I see. So since you can't reason effectively, you just change the subject.

"HTA" is not rationing. Furthermore, "HTA" *exactly* the same thing that insurance companies in the US already do today: examine treatment options with the goal of optimizing the cost-benefit ratio.

Okay, that's not strictly true. Insurance companies couldn't care less about the benefit, so long as it reduces cost.

And as an aside, availability of drugs is not an indicator of quality of care. Furthermore, while a wider variety of drugs may be *sold* in the US, that says absolutely nothing about actual availability on the ground.

And no, I don't plan to read the rest of your little think-tank article. Organizations such as those are nothing more than shills for big business, and I have better things to do than examine their corporate-funded musings.

Re:Gold cure sickness (0, Flamebait)

sarlos (903082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496834)

Oh, I see, you prefer to do all your own original research rather than trying to find folks who do a good job of combing over the research themselves, I'm sorry. Please, feel free to enlighten me by showing me how government control of anything increases supply of it. I'll only accept original applications though, no plagiarism now!

Command and control economies lead to scarcity, a fact born out repeatedly in history. Extreme examples in today's world are Cuba, North Korea, and China. Anyway, you asked about rationing, I provided a paper that points out, "Measured in units per million, the United States experiences levels of availability up to three times greater than in Canada and Germany," for basic life saving technologies like open heart surgery and radiation therapy. Rather than foam at the mouth, perhaps you could provide evidence that refutes this?

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31497898)

Command and control economies lead to scarcity, a fact born out repeatedly in history.

The fact that you can't see a difference between "command and control economies" and modern single-payer healthcare speaks volumes about the level of your intellect (though, to be fair, it's probably typical for a libertarian).

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31501068)

I don't care what you hate or don't but really, you're comparing healthcare to communism. That alone means it's genuinely clear you don't have a shred of an inkling of what you are talking about.

Please tell me again how socialism equals communism when we already live in a socialist society. (notice the words there!) Not that you have an answer to this.

Examples: welfare, social security, education, public roads, public transportation.

Are you going to tell me all of those are communist and/or that Canada (and the US, as you are implying) is communist? If so I'd like to remind you that we are neither a communist society, or a democratic society.

If you don't like it you're welcome to leave the country.

Re:Gold cure sickness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31496076)

Then explain to me the rationing that occurs in every nation with socialized health care? There never seems to be enough of other people's money (aka - taxes) to pay enough. The answer always seems to be that not enough money is being spent, yet despite ballooning costs, no nation has yet solved the problem. America still serves as the emergency room for the wealthy who can afford to get cutting edge treatments, and America still makes most major medical and drug breakthroughs. I don't know about you, but this tells me we may be doing something right, and maybe we should do more of that, instead of following the failed example of socialized, government mandated and funded healthcare.

Sarlos there you go again with that nonsense about rationing. I have lived in the UK, Canada and the USA. Two of the three countries have what you would consider socialized health care systems. Of the three countries, the one that imposes rationing is the USA. The USA has the largest bureaucracy in the form of private health insurers that discriminate against who can be insured and of those insured what treatments can be be provided. The for profit health insurance system in the USA actively gets between a doctor and the patient.
In both Canada and the UK doctors are the ones that make the decisions on treatment plans along with the patient, not some accountant or clerk. As I said the only place I have seen medical rationing is the USA. I have seen excellent treatment performed on people in their 80s in the UK that would of been refused in the USA.
In conclusion Sarlos you read like an health insurance business shill so do us a favor and go get an honest job instead of accepting their money to advocate for them.

Re:Gold cure sickness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31500638)

You are totally right, you get what you pay for.

So if you're a million/billionaire CEO you can get top notch healthcare available nowhere else.

But if you're a part time minimum wage slave with no benefits... Well... Break your leg and you might have to get your parents to take out a second mortgage.

Nobody cares about lower to middle class America, so the system works!

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31502410)

Why did a Canadian premier named Danny Williams come to the US for heart surgery instead of using the vaunted Canadian health care system?

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496388)

please. if you're trying to say you can't have free computing you're full of shit.

The difference here is that "Free" is a hell of a lot cheaper than something that "isn't free".

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

meyekul (1204876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31502188)

I'm sorry, where is the logic there?

For every Firefox, OpenOffice, or GIMP there are 1000 Wild Tangents or FREE Animated Pony screen savers. So, yes I would call that generally sucking. I feel comfortable in the fact that my doctor makes far more money than my mechanic. I've never taken my girlfriend out to a romantic dinner at the local soup kitchen. That's my logic, where is yours?

Re:Gold cure sickness (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494894)

Food and clothing have also been for people with money. As soon as you decide that something is a right, and it's OK to allow the state to take things from innocent people to give it to others, you might as well go all in.

Everything old is new again (3, Interesting)

Pareto Efficient (1622141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492234)

This reminds me of reading about the middle ages practice of the wealthy eating powdered precious and semi precious metals and gemstones to cure ailments.

Re:Everything old is new again (2, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492360)

Kinda funny really, but we still have people who think that same powdered silver [mayoclinic.com] (and to a lesser extent, gold [purestcolloids.com] ) is for internal use in curing pretty much everything.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492444)

isn't silver an antibiotic?

Not that you should drink the stuff, but I was always told the silver spoon old wives tale was based in reality.

Re:Everything old is new again (4, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492480)

Topically, like in socks, or in a petri dish, yes, silver is antibacterial, and it does has legitimate usage. In your body, not so much. I don't think anyone has ever been able to demonstrate that it will do anything for people (besides maybe give you argyria). So in this case there is a very small grain of truth hidden in the alt-med woo-woo, but not enough to make it sensible medical advice.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

forgot_my_username (1553781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31495418)

Doctors do use metals, and silver does have antibiotic effeects....
There have not been enough good studies done, so doctors are not allowed to perscribe it.
Gold and iron are used as well as chromium, and other minerals.
In fact minerals are essential to life and if you don't get enough it is as bad as getting too much.

Does silver work... MAYBE.
.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31497404)

If Docs aren't allowed to prescribe silver, then how do they use it?

Also, silver sounds like a rather silly idea [quackwatch.org] when we have actual antibiotics.

This isn't a "MAYBE", this is a "we stopped using silver a long time ago because we developed better things and it is bad for you."

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492722)

Yeah, and eating silver will turn your skin blue [foxnews.com] . Not like Avatar blue, but pretty close.

Re:Everything old is new again (2, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493142)

  1. Don't link to Fox News. Ever. Murdoch peddles an insidious mix of propaganda and fluff that's intended to neuter our ability to think. The less attention you pay to it, the better.
  2. Silver poisoning doesn't just turn your skin blue: it also causes brain damage.
  3. The story you mention is a cautionary tale about quack medicine in general. "Alternative medicine" that works is just called "medicine". What remains is ineffective, unsafe, or in the case of this poor man, both.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493896)

as much as I dislike fox news, I think you just let your hatred for it cloud your ability to reason. the article is about a man who has had his skin dyed blue from a silver treatment, and there's nothing in the grand parents post or the article that considers this a safe or effective treatment.

Re:Everything old is new again (0, Flamebait)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494930)

Don't link to Fox News. Ever. Murdoch peddles an insidious mix of propaganda and fluff that's intended to neuter our ability to think. The less attention you pay to it, the better.

Don't post on Slashdot. Ever.

Re:Everything old is new again (2, Interesting)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31502434)

Sheesh, I don't like Fox News either, but that is an *actual* news article, with a picture showing the ailment being discussed.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31497574)

Papa Smurf? Is that you?

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492806)

High concentrations of hydrochloric acid will also cure you of pretty much everything and in pure Darwin award fashion that includes you.

Gold and Arthritis - still used (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492532)

Gold is still used to treat arthritis. Since arthritis is a hodge podge of ailments it doesn't always work though.

However a doctor in Vancouver Canada said:

"Nothing works as well as gold, when gold works".

and end to cancer in our life time (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492238)

I think we might actually see the end to cancer in our life time. only 50 years ago pretty much any cancer was a death sentence, but now if detected early they have 80% and up 5 year survival rates with some kinds.

of course with cancer gone we will see many more old age illnesses due to an unnaturally long life. it'd be a nice problem to have i guess, to have people live so long that we hit biological age limitations.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492270)

I think your comment is a bunch of feel-good bullshit posted with the hopes of masturbating the Slashdot groupthink and earning a few precious brownie points.

N is for the Number of mod points you wish to get.
I is for Imbecille, which you clearly are.
G is for how Grabby you are for mod points.
G is also for being Greedy for mod points.
E is for Excellent karma that you earned fellating the editors and the toadies.
R is for the Rubber that comprises your butt-dildo.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492746)

7/10
Needs more sexism

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (2, Interesting)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492276)

If you mod me down, I will become more powerful than you can imagine....

I'd like to put this to the test, but first I will have to source some outside funding of mod points. It's all in the name of SCIENCE! =D

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492326)

There is a TED talk that is relevant. http://www.ted.com/talks/catherine_mohr_surgery_s_past_present_and_robotic_future.html [ted.com] Gene therapies are also advancing rapidly.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493628)

Yup. I'm investing in a company that is using virus delivery methods (Non replicating) to deliver a tumor necrosis protein in cases of pancreatic cancer. It's somewhat self serving, in that I'd make money if they do, but I'm also on a medication now that has a chance of giving me an inflamed pancreas and elevated risk of cancer.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493972)

It sounds nearly entirely self serving.

But that's the point of trade and capitalism, they align self interest with the interests of others.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (2, Interesting)

VeasMKII (1373385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492354)

Cancer is actually a biological age limitation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere [wikipedia.org]

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492654)

Cancer is actually a biological age limitation.

Most cell lines suffer telomere deterioriation as they age, i.e. as the cells in the line reproduce; cell lines which can halt this process before the telomeres are completely lost become "immortal" and are therefore cancerous. So in other words, cancer is the exact opposite of a "biological age limitation" -- it's the result of cells escaping the limitations of age.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (4, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493080)

it's the result of cells escaping the limitations of age

Yes, a cell becomes cancerous when it manages to mutate away the multiple redundant control mechanisms that prevent unchecked growth, one of which is the telomere length. (It acts as sort of a biological version of an IP TTL field.) That having been done, a cell can not only escape the normal age limits, but actually become an organism in its own right [wikipedia.org] .

However, you have to take into account that mutations are cumulative, and that as we become older, the probability that any one cell will have all the necessary mutations to become cancerous skyrockets. The effect is that cancer (or let's call it "cumulative chromosomal corruption") has been one of the limiting factors on age.

Yes, it looks increasingly likely that we can keep cancer at bay. But we run into other problems: congestive heart failure and degenerative neural diseases are next on the list of problems to beat. In the long view, we're ultimately limited by the capacity of our brains. In our lifetimes, it'll probably be possible to keep our bodies alive indefinitely. But if we're senile and insensitive, what difference does it make?

The ultimate solution, of course, is the famous transhumanist dream: uploading our minds to different, and presumably more durable, containers. And though I can hope for that, I don't see that technology being available in the lifetime of anyone reading this message. It's more plausible that we'll end our days in reasonable physical shape, but with minds as helpless as those of children.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (4, Insightful)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493662)

But if we're senile and insensitive, what difference does it make?

I'm already insensitive, you clod!

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31500794)

If you upload your mind and die then do you really live on or is it just a replicated version of yourself? Just as copying an MP3 may be identical to the original version, if the original is deleted it is still gone.

The only one who benefits from this is your duplicate.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | more than 4 years ago | (#31524216)

Cellular senescence also happens in the brain. If we can end senescence as well as cure cancer, we stand a chance of ending up as emotionally mature people with good bodies *and* good minds. Sounds like utopia to me. www.sierrasciences.com

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

Asaf.Zamir (1053470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492510)

We have already hit the biological age limitation a long time ago, every time we cure a disease that's suppose to kill someone. Unless you are referring to a time where our bodies would actually fall apart which I think would be solved not too long from now (parts of the DNA do have data referring to the "age" of the cells, as in, what generation are they, and it's being researched pretty heavily but it seems that not too long from now they'll find a way to stop the aging process completely). How about that, living a couple of hundreds of years, now that would be a change in the human perspective.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492988)

I think advances in science would increase vastly if we could live for even 200 years. there' problems it takes several life times of research to solve. it would also make long space flights a possibility, since a 30 year flight suddenly isn't the best years of your life wasted.

Re:and end to cancer in our life time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492562)

I have to agree. Partly due to the overwhelming evidence that shows you are. Partly from what my Oncologist has told me. The main thing to take away from over 50+ years of research- don't treat all cancers alike.

Similar to the Kanzius machine (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492392)

This is similar in principle to the Kanzius machine [kanziuscan...search.com] -- same idea, dope the cancer with some kind of radiation-sensitive material, then blast it. Kanzius wanted to use radio waves, but didn't know how to dope the cancer, but his oncologist knew a researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center who was treating Nobel Laureate Rick Smalley [latimes.com] -- one of the inventors of C-60, aka Buckminsterfullerene. Turns out that's a pretty good radiation target!

Sounds like these guys are on to the same basic concept with lasers and gold. Targeted doping of cancer cells seems like a very promising concept.

Re:Similar to the Kanzius machine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492470)

what's really funny is that I doped your mom like a cancer cell before I boned her and became your father.

What about the remaining 94%? (2, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492478)

6%? What happened with the remaining 94%? Did they accumulate elsewhere (and then the whole thing is so far an epic fail)?

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492506)

Probably pissed out?

Anyway, I plan on living quite a bit. So keep directing the funds to these lab rats, let em cure everything.

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492514)

More importantly, why would they only like the uptake to be 40% and not 100%.

They would like that number to be closer to 40 percent

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (1)

geegel (1587009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492588)

Most likely they have an engineer around. Setting an achievable target allows to... you know... actually get things done.

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493796)

If the 40% of the particles are concentrated on the tumor (let's assume it is 2% of the body by volume), the tumors will actually have a concentration of particles 30x that of the healthy tissue (0.4/0.02 in the tumor, 0.6/0.98 everywhere else). Set the heating level to be 1/10th lethal level for the cells in the non-cancerous areas would still provide 3x the lethal heat to the tumor. And the laser light source will only be shined on the area with the tumor anyway, so there's little concern of damage to the rest of the body.

Even at the current levels, we're still talking 3x concentration in the tumor compared to the rest of the body, even though it only absorbs 6% of the gold (again, assuming the tumor is 2% of the body). Set the laser for lethal heat on the tumor and only aim the laser at the tumor, and you get only 1/3rd lethal levels of heat in surrounding tissue (maybe).

Sounds like a win to me, although this general technique isn't new. They've been trying this with other types of gold nanoparticle for quite a while. The trick (which they still haven't figured out) is getting the gold to be targeted. Of course, as soon as you can make targeted proteins, all sorts of cancer cures will emerge as soon as you can attach a payload (any payload, basically) to the protein.

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493660)

presumably the procedure is inherently lossy, and 40% is the most efficient trade off between effort and effect.

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492540)

Well, considering that your body is hopefully a few orders of magnitude larger than the tumour...

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492626)

Cash4Gold

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493420)

From the University's own press release [wustl.edu] :

"“If we put bare nanoparticles into your body,” says Xia, “proteins would deposit on the particles, and they would be captured by the immune system and dragged out of the bloodstream into the liver or spleen.”

To prevent this, the lab coated the nanocages with a layer of PEG, a nontoxic chemical most people have encountered in the form of the laxatives GoLyTELY or MiraLAX. PEG resists the adsorption of proteins, in effect disguising the nanoparticles so that the immune system cannot recognize them.

Instead of being swept from the bloodstream, the disguised particles circulate long enough to accumulate in tumors."

They keep calling it "passive" targeting so I take it there's no specific mechanism: cells generally take up the particles (somehow) but because tumours try to maximise the blood flow they receive they get a bigger dose of blood-borne gold. So the other 94% could have still been floating around in the blood.

(I can't get at the actual article, but if anyone has a subscription to Small and can read it here [wiley.com] feel free to enlighten us if they mention where the rest went)

Re:What about the remaining 94%? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493584)

GoLyTELY

If you have ever had the misfortune to take this product, you will realize that it is misnamed. It should be GoLoudly or GoOften. Going lightly don't enter into it.

Don't get your hopes up (0, Troll)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492564)

The cancer industry has no incentive to find a cancer cure. Why shut off the billion dollar money spigot? If NCI invested in it I have my doubts it's as promising as it's touted. Just like the titanium treatment that preceded it. The real cures exist but are suppressed and their discoverers persecuted.

Re:Don't get your hopes up (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492708)

The cancer industry has no incentive to find a cancer cure.

      There's no such thing as a cancer cure until the day we can re-write our genetic code to prevent mutation due to time, transcription errors, ionizing radiation and interference from thousands of different chemicals. Therefore the "cancer industry" knows it is in no danger of being put out of business - ever. There is no conspiracy - you just have to understand what cancer is and how it happens to realize that it will always be a part of human life. If you live long enough, cancer is almost guaranteed.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492934)

There's no such thing as a cancer cure until the day we can re-write our genetic code to prevent mutation due to time, transcription errors, ionizing radiation and interference from thousands of different chemicals.

You're looking at it from the wrong angle: I doubt you could ever prevent "transcription errors, ionizing radiation and interference from thousands of different chemicals" from happening. A cancer cure would not be about that, but rather about minimizing the damage after it happens. For example by killing (or even repairing?) damaged cells before they turn into runaway growth.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493098)

For example by killing (or even repairing?) damaged cells before they turn into runaway growth.

And how, exactly, do you propose to do that? Your body's own immune system can't do it, and it's had a 65 million year head start.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493254)

naked mole rats never get cancer.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493732)

Did those millions of years help us get to the moon ?
Not understating the near impossibility of a complete treatment, but citing the failure of the immune system is not how you do it. Also, remember that many illnesses only appeared after the industrial revolution. It's the price of civilization.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (1)

ribbe (1238552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31496742)

And how, exactly, do you propose to do that? Your body's own immune system can't do it, and it's had a 65 million year head start.

With cool nanomachines, of course. And the most part of that 65 million years wasn't spent on fighting cancer, but other stuff that would kill me sooner. Cancer is a relatively recent problem, I think. And even then, most of that time my immune system has probably been plotting against me, so that I wouldn't live too long and compete of resources with my offspring.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493332)

Your body tries this every day, and in general it works fine. When a severely damaged cell (one that is not necrotic) can't undergo apoptosis (cell suicide for the uninitiated, done because it's either outlived its usefulness in the body or it has severe, irreversible damage) a natural killer cell then will endocytose it. Failing that theoretically impenetrable wall of defense, you get cancer. Here's to finding you beating the oldest arms race in the medical industry, millions of years in the making.

Re: Don't get your hopes up (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494032)

A cancer cure would not be about that, but rather about minimizing the damage after it happens.

      Sorry to split hairs but you're talking about a cancer TREATMENT, not a cure.

Re:Don't get your hopes up (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493594)

The cancer industry has no incentive to find a cancer cure.

There was a cure for cancer to be announced at a press conference on the 54th floor of WTC 2 on 9/11/2001.

It was a graphic lesson to all who might be tempted to slip the leash of the cancer industry.

Re:Don't get your hopes up (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494314)

Heck, JFK had a cancer cure way back in the 60's. Who do you think was on that grassy knoll? That's right: The Cancer Industry!

Re:Don't get your hopes up (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31497540)

Abraham Lincoln was to give an address from his balcony at intermission about the cure for cancer he discovered. But who was John Wilkes Booth? That's right! The Cancer Industry!

Stupid question (1)

localoptimum (993261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492674)

If you can irradiate it with a laser then you can see it. So why not just cut the bastard out? Or hit it with an ion beam which does much more damage than a laser and is just as selective as the gold nanocage method?

Re:Stupid question (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31492826)

Just because you can see it doesn't mean you can reasonably differentiate it from the surrounding normal cells. This discovery takes care of that for you.

The other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31495478)

If you can just zap the thing with a laser through the body to kill the tumor and not the surrounding tissue why would you go through the effort to cut it out of the person doing much more harm to surrounding tissue?

sh17 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31492774)

Blue, rubber are tied up in To them...then You don't nned to be fun. It used if you don't FUCKING USELESS

Photodynamic therapy (2, Informative)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493570)

This is another form of photodynamic therapy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photodynamic_therapy [wikipedia.org]

The problem has always to find a chemical which would accumulate in tumors and not in healthy tissures and would also respond to radiation by generating cell-killing chemicals. Not an easy couple of parameters to satisfy.

wuarchive.wustle.du (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493590)

Oh how I miss you.

Sort of.


guest@potato:~$ ftp wuarchive.wustl.edu
ftp: connect: Connection timed out
ftp>

Old news is old (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493736)

They have been researching this for _years_. The grant may be news, granted. But the technique itself?

Targeting is the big problem (4, Informative)

SlashBugs (1339813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493814)

This is a cool variation on a basic idea that's been used before, and will make a great payload for cancer treatment. However, killing cancer cells is not all that difficult; rather targeting cancer cells is hard. It's all about the therapeutic index, i.e. the ratio of damage done to cancer cells against damage done to healthy tissue.

Talking about cancer as "a disease" is a big misnomer; at best it's a huge family of diseases (really nice explanation in this comic [phdcomics.com] ). Patterns do emerge -- certain tissues tend to have similar patterns of gene expression between people and therefore tend to give rise to similar cancers -- but each cancer that arises comes about in a different way, and evolves in response to different selective pressures within the body. The biggest of these pressures are fairly obvious like the need for neutrients (so "successful" cancers are the ones that evolve the ability to encourage blood vessels to grow around them) and evading the immune system. So, almost by definition, the outside of a cancer cell is forced to look as similar as possible to the outside or a healthy cell in the same tissue, to avoid detection.

There are some exploitable internal differences. Most cancers (but by no means all, or even close to all) express hTERT, a gene responsible for repairing the telomeres, whose degradation would otherwise limit the cells' replication. So some researchers (including my former lab) are working on techniques to exploit that e.g. viruses that can only kill cells expressing hTERT. The downside is that some legitimate cells also express hTERT, most notably your stem cells (bone marrow, some other tissues).

Another popular method is just targeting all cells that are highly metabolically active. Cancer cells tend to be working unusually hard (most cells in your body just sit there gently ticking over most of the time), so some cancer therapies target any cells that are burning through a lot of glucose (e.g. radiolabelled glucose is used as a source for imaging techniques like Positron Emission Tomography) or that are doing a lot of DNA replication as part of cell division. Again, though, this targets many cells in your body which are working this hard as a normal part of their programmes.

So, yeah, this is a cool payload but targeting is the hard part. If we knew what ligands to tie these particles to for targeting and how to persuade these huge particles to move against a pressure gradient and through a dense, disorganised extra-cellular matrix, cancers wouldn't be half the problem that they actually are. We could be using targeted viruses (piece of piss to do if you know what you're targeting and the surrounding tissue isn't too dense), metal nanoparticles, targeted liposomes (little hollow balls of fat) containing toxins or toxin precursors, modified antibodies to alert the immune system to the cancer cells, etc, etc.

Curing a cancer would be pretty easy: throw enough researchers and resources at one patient's specific tumour and we'll come up with a damn fine treatment. But curing all cancers -- different tumours arising from different tissues in different patients -- is seriously hard. We'll see fantastic advances in treating specific cancer types, but I seriously doubt that "a cure for cancer" is possible within our lifetimes. Although, heh, if you prove me wrong I won't be too upset :).

Re:Targeting is the big problem (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31503108)

Curing a cancer would be pretty easy: throw enough researchers and resources at one patient's specific tumour and we'll come up with a damn fine treatment. But curing all cancers -- different tumours arising from different tissues in different patients -- is seriously hard. We'll see fantastic advances in treating specific cancer types, but I seriously doubt that "a cure for cancer" is possible within our lifetimes. Although, heh, if you prove me wrong I won't be too upset :).

Yeah, an oncologist once told me that 'cancer' is about 300 different diseases all lumped into one speciality.
A Slashdot regular has posted before about his company's technology [selenbio.com] which can addresses some of these on demand.

It seems at this point to be a highly methodical process - eliminating one at a time until we have them all. Your scenario actually seems like the prudent thing to do.

Brother of T (1)

Brother of T (628167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31498618)

The Doktors used to put those big-ass radiation pellets into your prostate. NOW they put those LITTLE-ass radiation pellets into your prostate. Better Living Thru Chemistry???
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