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Carbon Nanotubes Can Exist Safely Inside the Body, Help Treat Cancer

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the series-of-tubes dept.

Biotech 86

iandoh writes "A team of scientists at Stanford University has tracked the movement of carbon nanotubes through the digestive systems of mice. They've determined that the nanotubes do not exhibit any toxicity in the mice, and are safely expelled after delivering their payload. As a result, the study paves the way toward future applications of nanotubes in the treatment of illnesses. Previous research by the same team demonstrated that nanotubes can be used to fight cancer. The nanotubes do this in two ways. One method involves shining laser light on the nanotubes, which generates heat to destroy cancer cells. Another method involves attaching medicine to the nanotubes, which are able to accurately 'find' cancerous cells without impacting healthy cells."

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that's nice (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258014)

have they got the space elevator working yet?

non toxic on human gut (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260032)

space elevator working yet


I don't know when the space elevator will be ready.
But from what I deduce from TFA, once the elevator is there, it will probably be edible !

Re:non toxic on human gut (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22266206)

space elevator working yet


I don't know when the space elevator will be ready.
But from what I deduce from TFA, once the elevator is there, it will probably be edible !
And cure any cancer you got due to cosmic radiation while in space.

*start super hero music* (2, Funny)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258028)

Faster than a pumping heart...stronger than graphite capable of delivering it's payload then leaving safely...it's CARBON NANO-TUBE MAN! With the power to...reflect lasers! and deliver medicine!

Re:*start super hero music* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258102)

IT-Man [slashdot.org] says: 'Carbon Nano-Tube Man? Oh, he's compensating for a little something down south. The carbon tubes aren't the only thing that's nano, if you catch my drift.'

Re:*start super hero music* (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259706)

Basically, he is a ripp-off of superman. I mean, superman can reflect lasers. And superman can also deliver medicine.

The good part is that CARBON NANO-TUBE MAN can probably withstand krypton. And paralysis for that matter.

no, not really... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258042)

the evidence doesn't really support that http://www.necromancy.net/images/rebecca_no_legs.jpg [necromancy.net]

Re:no, not really... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258084)

>>rebecca_no_legs.jpg
I don't know what I was expecting...

Re:no, not really... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258086)

The new goatse?

It's about time (2, Funny)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258044)

Finally, something useful getting delivered via the 'tubes!

Re:It's about time (1)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258142)

Do not underestimate the power of the 'tubes!

Re: (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258228)

Hmmm... so it doesn't react to anything, and it travels around the body and gets excreted. However, nanotubes are still indestructible. They are probably causing cellular damage traveling everywhere in the body. This will force cell repair machinery to become more active, which will lead to an eventual increase in the rates of cancer. Still... if engineers can make miniature robots with nanotubes, it'll be cool. As long as they prevent or treat more cancers than they cause.

Re: (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262292)

They are probably causing cellular damage traveling everywhere in the body.
FUD=Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. "Probably causing" qualifies as all three. "Maybe causing" is probably what you meant to say.

Re:It's about time (0, Offtopic)

NothingMore (943591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258320)

idk, the internet is just a series of tubes and its useful (sometimes).

Re:It's about time (1)

SubOptimalUseCase (927514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22267120)

They've *definitely* been delivering hyperbole amongst billions of carbon-based lifeforms for over a decade!

How common do you see this being? (0, Troll)

Fat Wang (1230914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258058)

There are many types of cancer. Some curable, most not. How widespread do you people see this becoming (nanotubes, or really nano-anything) being used in medicine to help treat cancer or other medical conditions. Does anyone have an example of nanotechnology deployed in humans? As far as I am concerned, I see Diablo III being deployed sooner than nanotubes in humans for cancer treatment. Nice /. article.

Re:How common do you see this being? (4, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258112)

Every technology has to start somewhere. How many people 100 years ago would have thought it possible that the people of the future would have magic electric devices that allowed them to communicate through the air and all the way across the world? Small steps, small steps...

As a side note, the cancers that aren't curable aren't curable yet. I welcome anything that helps to move humanity free of cancer.

Re:How common do you see this being? (0, Redundant)

Bartab (233395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258176)

How many people 100 years ago would have thought it possible that the people of the future would have magic electric devices that allowed them to communicate through the air and all the way across the world?

The educated ones, certainly. Since Marconi made a transatlantic telegraph transmission in 1902. 106 years ago.

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258224)

The educated ones, certainly.

Much like the scientists working on the nanotubes/people familiar with the technology do today?

Re:How common do you see this being? (0, Redundant)

Bartab (233395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258240)

No, more like the people who read a newspaper. In 1903, Pres. Teddy had a telegraphed conversation with the King of England. From Massachusetts. It was a big deal in the papers.

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258302)

Ah, and so everybody at the time envisioned cell phones, for example? I posit (and use as evidence the "far future tech" of communicators in Star Trek) that they did not. Yet cell phones are the logical evolution of that telegraphed conversation.

I submit, sir, that you are incorrect.

Re:How common do you see this being? (0, Redundant)

Free_Meson (706323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258436)

Ah, and so everybody at the time envisioned cell phones, for example? I posit (and use as evidence the "far future tech" of communicators in Star Trek) that they did not. Yet cell phones are the logical evolution of that telegraphed conversation.
The first trans-Atlantic radio transmission was in 1901. The telephone (considered an improved telegraph) was invented in the 1870's. I don't think any literate westerner from 1908 would be surprised by our wireless telephony. They'd be far more surprised by our display devices.

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258592)

Showing them that it exists, and having them independently decide it would be possible absent any evidence are two completely different things. You've subtly changed the argument to make a point that was never in contention.

Re:How common do you see this being? (0, Redundant)

Free_Meson (706323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259104)

Showing them that it exists, and having them independently decide it would be possible absent any evidence are two completely different things. You've subtly changed the argument to make a point that was never in contention.
What exactly are you arguing then? That the form factor for a prop in a pulp 60's TV show demonstrates that people of the early 20th century had no idea that wireless communications were possible? Or was your comment just a complete non sequitur?

Voice over radio was first practiced in 1900. It actually existed, in practice, then. Wireless telecommunications have changed a great deal in the last 100 years, but those are differences in degree. I communicate voice over radio waves like Fessenden did ~107 years ago.

If you were to draw any conclusions from Star Trek, it's probably be that the show's creators had no insight into the impact of miniaturization or that the prop department preferred doctored household items to custom designed and manufactured props. It certainly doesn't tell you what the people of the 60's were thinking, much less the people of 1908. Much of the "far future" technology of star trek had nothing on the technology of (say) Dick Tracy. Were the relevant aspects of Star Trek technology any more advanced than that depicted on the Batman TV series airing contemporaneously?

Going back to the original question:

How many people 100 years ago would have thought it possible that the people of the future would have magic electric devices that allowed them to communicate through the air and all the way across the world?
Answer: All of them that could read. There's no need for you to apply your assumptions about people living 60 years after the fact based on a TV show to answer this question.

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

rapid eyes movement (1230814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258818)

forget Marconi ..it was determined in court that he stole or was inspired at least by Tesla's blueprints...the latter envisioned even the internet and much much more

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260402)

What the heck does a noodle and cheese dish have to do with a band from the 70's and 80's? (other than the "cheese")

Oh, Wait...

Nevermind.

Re:How common do you see this being? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258580)

Thats great ease [kanati.com.ph] to those who have cancers...

Re:How common do you see this being? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259758)

Even if carbon nanotubes are somehow toxic, so are current chemotherapies for certain cancers!

Re:How common do you see this being? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22264268)

How many people 100 years ago would have thought it possible that the people of the future would have magic electric devices that allowed them to communicate through the air and all the way across the world?
Since the radio was invented in the 1890s, I'd have to say most of them.

Dr. Weir (2, Funny)

soulfury (1229120) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258092)

Since carbon nanotubes don't exhibit any toxicity, I can imagine that future nanites would be made out of this material.

Medical advances dont come from dump trucks.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258094)

....they come from a series of tubes!

Commie Plot (5, Funny)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258104)

Though they may sound less than gorgeous visually, the feathery nanotubes turned in a beautiful performance in practical terms, Dai said. The coating of PEG made the nanotubes highly water soluble, which helped them to stay in the blood instead of being absorbed.
I'd prefer to keep my precious bodily fluids pure and unsapped thank you very much.

Re:Commie Plot (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258396)

Before you mod the parent down, watch Dr. Strangelove.

-:sigma.SB

Re:Commie Plot (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259066)

You, sir, have made my night. : ) Thank you very much for a wonderful post. If I had mod points you would get one.

Brain asplode (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263514)

Though they may sound less than gorgeous visually

Shouldn't it be, "look less than gorgeous visually," or "sound less than gorgeous aurally?"

How does something sound visually? Is he on drugs? And if so, why isn't he sharing?

Excellent. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258110)

Queue whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag in 3... 2... 1...

So if one day... (2, Interesting)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258140)

We've all got nanotubes inside us doing various medical things. Will this bring a new age of IR lasers? What about taking pictures with night vision turned on? Anyone would be able to see all your diseased areas

Congratulations (1)

city (1189205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22310524)

In your last dying breathe you can claim to never have had your diseased heart's photo taken. That way you can take your privacy to the grave.

Re:Congratulations (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22311642)

well I didn't mean it as a criticism of the technology, more of a sci-fi what if but it didn't take apparently

oh really? (5, Informative)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258148)

Another paper out this week [acs.org] seems to directly contradict that headline.

What Dai (the Stanford professor) is actually claiming [pnas.org] is that specially functionalized nanotubes gather at the back end of the digestive tract, and seem to dissapear. Pure nanotubes cause all sorts of problems. There's an important distinction there, but this is still good news for nanotube (and cancer) research.

Re:oh really? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258412)

nanotubes cause all sorts of problems.

yes, they can puncture cell membranes for one, they're like little molecular needles. That property likely makes them useful in killing bacteria. fullerene, a related molecule in the shape of a soccer ball more of less has shown some toxicity at ppm levels as well. from the attached PDF, it seems that single-walled carbon nanotubes are actually more toxic than multiwalled nanotubes or nanoparticles of SiO2 [quartz] these cells are upregulating certain genes involved in inflammation and then survival genes. the survival genes are in this case involved in regulating the inflammation so that the cell is more likely to survive. all in all rather disturbing considering the kind of cells that are mostly affected in this case [immune cells]

Re:oh really? (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258610)

I am just a layman, but I read the article in the first link to literally mean "Good news! The mice are pooping out the tubes instead of dying from them!"

So that's, um, good news...I guess? Thanks for sorting through all that mouse shit for us, Dai! Er, cancer doesn't stand a chance?

Re:oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22259490)

It is an urgent matter to have the bio safety of all these nano materials established. The billion dollar industry will then take off and create new jobs.

Re:oh really? (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259768)

Haven't we experienced problems with small fibers in the body before causing all kinds of long-term problems (asbestos)? A lack of toxicity is one small step, but is there any data on long-term exposure?

Re:oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22266794)

It is perfectly reasonable to expect long-term data from the first short-term result.

Effects on lungs will be interesting (4, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260160)

The gut is rather an easy situation :

Normally, things go through the gut from one end (mouth) to the other (toilet seet) without much hassle, unless there's either a specific receptor or transporter for it (sugar), or it's chemical properties facilitates cross the gut wall (mainly : water can go around cell and hyrdophobic substance (fat) can go through the cell walls).

Nano tube aren't by definition neither water nor small fatty molecule, and as they're synthetic, the probability that some receptor will recognize and bind them is rather low.
Thus TFA seems plausible. But as you point out, not everyone agrees with those results. More research might be needed.

With lung, the situation is different :
Above a given threshold size (sorry, I did have to memorise it exactly for my medical studies but have since then forgotten), the respiratory tract function as some kind of "filter" and is able to stop them and reject them either back outside (by coughing) or to the gut (by swalloing), thank to the ciliated cells on the tract walls and associated mucus movement (which acts as some minature conveyor belt). (Except in smokers where the ciliated cells are paralyzed).

Under some threshold, smaller enough particles may manage to reach the end of the tract to the alveolar sacs.
Normally, specialised dust cells (some lung-specific kind of marcophage) will eat and digest them to destroy them.
Now the problems with nano tube is that they're not your usual microparticles : they're engineered to be indestructible, so the macrophage will have a hard time trying to destroy them.

This is what happens with asbestos, for exemple. Asbestos reaches the alveolar sas. Macrophage "eat it" but fail to digest it (asbestos fiber were made to be used as fire-resistant). Macrophage end up over-eating and exploding. Which releases the asbestos back and causes inflammation (both because the asbestos it self is irritant, and because of the macrophage breakage) in the lungs (asbestosis).

That's something we need to closely test with nanotube :
- are the size of most common nanotube construct under the threshold to reach the alveolar sacs ? (or will we, one day, mostly use nano technology to build huge nanobot - huge on the scale of dust particle, of course - that won't be able to reach the end of the respiratory tract).
- do animal studies show that dust cell somewhat manage to get rid of the tubes ? or do the tube accumulate and cause inflammation just like

Heat is versatile (3, Interesting)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258164)

The technology does seem useful. At present, all they are doing is cooking the cells. But if you can coat a nanotube with various compounds, you can coat it with toxins tied by a heat labile bond. Cook to release, and poison the cancer cell.

WOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258198)

18 comments so far and only 1 marginally intresting or useful at all.

Good thing i'm not in charge here. I'd fucking ban all 17 of you morons.

A nano step. But a good step. /. is becomming fark. I expect massive stupidity there. But not here.

Type of nanotubes (4, Interesting)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258272)

From TFA, it appears these are single wall nanotubes, which are a lot more expensive and difficult to produce than multiple wall nanotubes. i'd be interested to see if these could pass through the mouse, as they are more reactive than the single walled variety

Re:Type of nanotubes (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258432)

They are feeding nanotubes to mice to measure toxicity. There's another possible explanation [theonion.com] .

You're kidding me right? (5, Interesting)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258548)

SINGLE WALL nanotubes do no harm? That is really surprised me because single wall nanotubes are a lot thinner than multiwall and most of the worries have been about them acting like tiny katanas and slicing up cell membranes. A while back someone made an antiseptic coating using carbon nanotube set up like a tiny sharp as hell bed of nails. Another worry was that biomolecules, DNA, RNA, proteins, etc might wrap around single wall nanotubes and gum up cellular machinery. In fact someone used this property to make a nifty little mercury sensor. See more here http://www.news.uiuc.edu/NEWS/06/0126nanotubes.html [uiuc.edu] Of course the nanotubes were coated with polyethylene glycol to prevent stuff like this from happening, so nanotubes might still be toxic uncoated. There definitely needs to be another study done on nanotube toxicity to confirm the results.

Cure Cancer? (-1, Offtopic)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258280)

Previous research by the same team demonstrated that nanotubes can be used to fight cancer

As soon as I read that I knew - _I.am.Legend_!!

Thank the inanimate carbon nanotube! Hooray! (1)

PrimeWaveZ (513534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258282)

But can it find my keys without destroying the surrounding environment and then deliver the payload back to me?

Re:Thank the inanimate carbon nanotube! Hooray! (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259858)

Do you often leave your keys in your digestive tract?

The Internets (1)

stu45 (882458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258310)

Does that mean the internets will go faster?

whatcouldpossiblygowrong (1)

XnPlater (1186661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258316)

I mean, really?

targeting cancer cells is hard (1)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258338)

There are a lot of methods for targeting cancer cells (basically, targeted poison delivery systems). The problem is, there are few superficial features of cancers cells which on a molecular level different from normal cells. There will always be some toxicity to the healthy cells because it is very hard to target cancer cells selectively.

Re:targeting cancer cells is hard (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258620)

Wasn't there research about 10 years ago involving targeting and inducing cancer cells to undergo apoptosis?

The real problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258398)

The real problem with nanotubes is that they have the ability to penetrate the cell wall and act as artificial channels. This is bad, especially, because the tubes naturally will pump charged ions in'n'out of the cell, which lead to all sorts of problems.

Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258464)

Hongjie Dai, co-author of the study, had this to say about the study:

"One of the longstanding problems in medicine is how to cure cancer without harming normal body tissue."

I do not have a medical background, but what I know about cancer is that its causes are often rooted in any combination of lifetime exposure to carcinogens, dietary decisions, family history--you name it. In other words, people get cancer for reasons that can't possibly be addressed by running small tubes through their bodies.

Isn't this really just yet another potential treatment for cancer, and not by any means a cure for it? Isn't it the case that a patient with cancer could undergo extensive nanotube treatment, rid of every cancerous cell, only to have the cancer reappear due to any of the aforementioned factors?

Is this really just a semantic mistake (i.e. "Hongjie Dai" may not understand every nuanced term in the English language or just misspoke), or would this procedure really be marketed and used as a permanent cure for one of the world's worst killers?

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258488)

The distinction you're making is confusing. I guess name a disease/illness/whatever that you think has been cured and that would help.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258560)

It's not a very confusing distinction if you think about it. Saying that you've "cured" a disease implies that you've actually created something that can restore a patient to full health, or at the very least created some kind of predicate by which infection cannot even possibly occur. Smallpox, for example, was effectively cured by way of a preemptive, widely-used vaccine. There is no evidence in the article that the nanotubes procedure does either of these things.

A cancer is by definition a cellular aberration. So to claim a potential cure for all cellular aberrations is pretty strange.

Isn't it far more likely that this group has improved on a novel but not particularly practical treatment for some types of cancer, but has run with the "cure for cancer" label for the sake of sensationalism?

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258590)

Every cancer is personal, since it's a genetic aberration. You might cure the one you've got. That doesn't mean you might not get another. If you do, though, it won't be the same one.

Now, whether or not it's a 100% effective cure (i.e., always eradicates every cancerous cell of the current batch) is a different question. If you're hung up on that distinction, all I can say is that a total remission is as close to a cure as you ever get. That's a cure with a "but we may be wrong" rider attached.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258738)

First off, cancer is a specific type of "cellular aberration", you know the whole A is a type of B but not all instances of B are A type of thing. Basically what you're talking about is prevention of the illness (vaccines)rather then either a treatment or a cure. My definitions: A cure is a type of treatment something that makes a disease go away( if you get it again thats irrelevant)while a treatment is something that(at least)makes you feel better but doesn't necessarily deal with the fundamental problem. I guess what you want from a cure for cancer is something that lets people do whatever they want without getting cancer, which would be awesome and maybe this is the first step towards that.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258520)

I think most relapses of cancer are due to it never being completly removed the first time, but I'm not a doctor. I just read doctor realted things on the internet like everyone else here.

Like the other response to your post, I'm not sure If I agree with your terminology. Prevention is not the same as a cure. As the following statement would be incorrect usage of the word cure: I cured malaria by living in Antarctica.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22259150)

You're confusing a vaccine and a cure, as well as universal and specific cures. You seem to find cure and vaccine synonymous, which they are not. A vaccine will prevent the formation of a disease state and a cure will... cure it. A cure is not effective until the disease state is reached. And in both cases medical technology generally does not have a one-off of either of them. An easy example would be the flu vaccine. It only contains the top percentage of the previous year's bugs (i.e. the most prevalent last year). Getting the flu vaccine still leaves you with a measurable chance of catching a flu if you get one that is a) heavily mutated or b) is from a few years back and is not represented in the current sample.

Treatments are different and can be more universal because they focus on ameliorating the disease state rather than curing. Chemotherapy, for instance, would be considered a more universal treatment because it is good against a number of different cancers. It is not much of a cure since the success rate isn't too high, as far as I know. Treatments are often hammers that are aimed at identifying most of the nail-looking-things and making them go away a little bit.

Also, just because a cancer may have a number of different causes that does not imply that the underlying pathology is different. If you look at a number of different research paths into cancer physiology and development, there are findings that many cancers exhibit specific morphologies and surface markers. Of course the research is difficult and there are always people who get a different answer from you. If carbon nano-tubes do exhibit the capability to make ion-channels and we can get them to target cancerous surface markers, it's clear we've made a way to destroy target cells without releasing a toxin which would be dangerous to otherwise healthy cells. Unfortunately biomedical engineering is easy to say what needs/should be done (I should know, it's my major) but alot harder to actually do.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22264816)

I kind of resent AC's who refuse to actually read parent posts, just so they can chime in with their 2 cents. Thank you for the added insight, but the plain words of my post reveal that I don't "seem to find" a cure or a vaccine synonymous at all. They are similar only in the sense that they accomplish the same goal through different means. The first part of my post was explicitly dedicated to making that distinction, while still maintaining that a "cure" in the medical sense is something that brings a patient back to full health while a vaccine acts as a preemptive measure (i.e. a constructive cure). I even used the word preemptive (that would be the big clue).

Because you failed to actually answer my question (hedging on the issue of treatment options), we can all safely assume that this is simply yet another treatment positioned as more than such by a couple of vainglorious scientists. Bravo, Slashdot.

Re:Bizarre overstatement: A *CURE* for Cancer? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22264454)

I think it's you that's confused on terminology.

A cure is remedial treatment. Usually, it's used to mean a successful remedial treatment, or a means of restoring to health.

It's not necessary that a cure be able to prevent a disease, only that it be able to remove the disease. As such, once you have cancer, if this treatment can effectively remove it, it is a cure.

If you distinguish "treatment" and "cure" as per common usage, the reason current treatments are not cures is that they are not always effective, or are only partially so. (That is, you can be cured by a particular treatment, but that treatment is not a cure, as it has a reasonable chance of failure.) Clearly first this nanotube business would be a cancer treatment -- if it turns out to be always effective at destroying cancers, then it is a cure.

Too bad...... (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258530)

Wouldn't they be more useful if they actually killed the mice? I hate messing with the traps.

Javascript renders slashdot unreadable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22258574)

Well that's it. Now that the old form to view threads is gone, it is pretty much impossible to read slashdot over dial-up. Well done guys, nice work. I hope you like your goofy looking AJAX thingy. Do you feel trendy? Are you cool like the other kids now? Well I hope you're happy, but slashdot is now unreadable over dial-up. (and barely readable on high-speed) And just I love how that javascript locks the entire browser while it executes (up to several minutes on dial-up). Bye, Bye Slashdot. I wonder if disabling javascript or Lynx might render it readable? Or is Slashdot lost and gone forever now?

Add 'nano-' in front of an old idea . . . (1)

avilliers (1158273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258606)

Both of the applications mentioned are old, respected and not very easy to implement. I've known people who've worked on various versions of them--attaching molecules that are going to be absorbed by cancerous cells to dyes or radioactive payloads, then hoping they selectively destroy the bad cells. The idea's gone far enough that companies get funding, but obviously the approach hasn't produced a silver bullet. I don't see any reason that using carbon nanotubes will make things easier than using traditional carbon-based (ie, organic) molecules--in fact, if I had to guess, I would have said they are likely to be less selective and more difficult to work with.

I don't mean to imply that the idea's not worth pursuing, but like many research programs I suspect this is getting press because it's a good story (buzzwords + easy to explain mechanism), not because it's more likely to succeed than various other therapies.

after one movie (2, Insightful)

Nyall (646782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258778)

So is iamlegend the new replacement for whatcouldpossiblygowrong ?

Re:after one movie (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259526)

I'm pondering how the typo "inthereanythingtheycantdo" gets in. You know, I'm starting to think maybe this keyword thing is broken.

For a while, I've been getting this sense of unease. The keyword "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" seemed inappropriate at first until I realized what could possibly go wrong. After all, a genetically modified mosquito which played too much Grand Theft Auto could upload its DNA into Defense computers and start World War III. We really need to consider the ammunition this would give a sharp lawyer like Jack Thompson. I mean being able to say "Grand Theft Auto", "genetically modified mosquitos", and "billions of people dead" in the same sentence? I foresee a government-imposed ratings system on video games in no time. It's absolutely frightening.

But now we're getting typos. How do millions of slashdotters typo at the same time? Is this the begining of a new regime of physics, synchronicity? Where a bunch of like things happen at once. I think so. It's probably bad too. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty and all at once too. I mean you could be watching a news show and the news anchor dies. Because you were watching you die at the same time. It could happen, I read it in a book once. Well a paperback. Of science fiction. But it could happen! Will we need to "desynchronize" our local neighborhood? I'm going to watch the keywords section intently to see.

Re:after one movie (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22260094)

'Specially when said movie is a shitty rehash of 28 Days Later - a superior product from the civilised side of the pond :P

isthereanythingtheycantdo? (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22258802)

They can't fail the mayor, not ever....

What the hell happened to conjunctives? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259498)

"Carbon Nanotubes Can Exist Safely Inside the Body, Help Treat Cancer"

Surely you mean "Carbon Nanotubes Can Exist Safely Inside the Body AND Help Treat Cancer"?

Unless, "help treat cancer" is a seperate sentence in the form of a request (well, if there's anything I can do, I'll help..) /pedant

Re:What the hell happened to conjunctives? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22261330)

"Carbon Nanotubes Can Exist Safely Inside the Body, Help Treat Cancer"

Surely you mean "Carbon Nanotubes Can Exist Safely Inside the Body AND Help Treat Cancer"?

Unless, "help treat cancer" is a seperate sentence in the form of a request (well, if there's anything I can do, I'll help..) /pedant
This has been standard form for newspaper headlines for as long as I can remember.

Re:What the hell happened to conjunctives? (2, Informative)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262972)

This has been standard form for newspaper headlines for as long as I can remember.
Exactly. It's used to save space.

Where did here that? (1)

CedricVonck (693142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22259512)

We are the Borg (c).
Resistance is futile.

'Nuff said

Expelled? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260020)

Even if they don't do any damage to the body, is there any chance of them doing damage to the environment once they are 'expelled'?

missing tag: whatcouldpossibleygowrong? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260386)

Really. These tests may indicate OK-ness, but this is such a novel thing to do to a body, I can't see how it will be harmless... I'm sure more studies on in the pipeline, but I wouldn't get all gleeful.

RS

Re:missing tag: whatcouldpossibleygowrong? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22266264)

I can't see how it will be harmless...

Well, then we'll just update the entry to "mostly harmless." Problem solved.

Freaking laser beams... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22261072)

We should just make nanosharks out of carbon and attach the lasers to their heads to hunt the cancer.

What About The Darker Side of Nanotechnology? (1)

JasperDyne (1230022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262216)

So they progress enough to use nanotubes in humans for drug delivery and the nanotubes are excreted from the digestive system.

When the waste is processed in the municipal sewage facility, the nanotubes aren't captured in the purification process and pass on to the ecosystem as effluent.

Will these nanotubes have the robustness to survive in the wild? Will they get clogged in fish gills causing them to suffocate?

What other mayhem may we be missing by not looking at the whole life cycle of nanoparticles in such experiments?
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