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Home News and Update Year 2010 TIFR Research Provides Boost to Cancer Treatment

TIFR Research Provides Boost to Cancer Treatment

DNA India
18 June 2010
Mumbai, India

Targeted drug delivery using carbon nano tubes (CNTs) was proposed as an effective tool for treating diseases like cancer. But clinical trials have shown that post treatment, it is very difficult to remove the CNTs from the blood stream. The localised accumulation of CNTs can be very toxic, resulting in serious medical problems, say scientists.

However, for the fist time, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR–Mumbai) and Raman Research Institute (RRI–Bangalore) have developed a method by which such CNT aggregations can be removed from the blood after their drug–delivery function is over. This makes the concept of targeted and direct drug delivery with CNTs more viable.

“CNTs, coated with anti–bodies, work very well for treating diseases like cancer or malaria. The tubes containing drug molecules within them can be directed to the specific diseased cell rather than to the whole human body. But since CNTs are toxic and can even result in death, it has not being tried on humans yet,” said Himanish Basu, a masters student at TIFR, who was involved in the project.

To get a solution to this problem, physicists and biologists from the two institutes created a method that uses optical tweezers to remove carbon nano tubes out of body fluids.

Their study says this can be made possible by focusing a laser beam (at very low power levels) on to CNTs, which then absorbs the energy and rapidly heats up, giving rise to bubbles.

“So, if a focussed laser beam is inserted (by using ultra–thin optical fibres) into the blood vessel of a patient who has received CNT treatment, the CNTs at the drug delivery location can be accumulated on the surface of a bubble,” said Deepak Mathur, TIFR professor. “They can then be removed from a small incision or dispersed by marginal increase of laser power which will cause the bubble to explode.”

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