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Cancer research has achieved yet another milestone with the development of “smart packages” that are based on nanotechnology and help treat cancers more efficiently. These packages specifically target the cancer cells and kill them.

Scientists are now in the process of developing “smart packages” using nanotechnology for the treatment of various sorts of cancers. These smart packages have been formulated in such a way that they single out the cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells.

The Smart Packages

This research is being carried out at the Flinders University in South Australia and is led by Professor Colin Raston in collaboration with Dr Jingxin Mo from China's Sun Yat-sen University and Professor Lee Yong Lim from the University of Western Australia.

Professor Colin Raston has hailed this innovative technology as the “holy grail” of the cancer research. According to him, these packages serve as the perfect vehicles to deliver the drugs straight to the cancerous cells.

These packages are quite “smart” as they head only for the cancer cells due to the fact that the pH of the tumor cells is quite low as compared to the healthy cells. These packages are administered along with cancer chemotherapeutic drugs and contain folate which has an affinity for the acidic environment of the cancer cells. On reaching the target cells, folate becomes unstable and releases the drug within the vehicle. The anti-cancerous drugs within kill the cancer cells.

This highly specific approach has minimized the side effects that are commonly associated with anti-cancer drugs. These packages can be used to kill cancer cells regardless of their number and type.

These packages serve as the perfect vehicle for the delivery of drugs that are specific for a certain sort of cancer. Their diameter is about 100 nanometers which is about 800 times less than the diameter of the human hair-a size that makes them ideal for targeting the cancer cells.

Smart Packages Revolutionizing the Cancer Therapy

 Smart packages have completely redefined the conventional cancer treatment modalities. Traditional methods of delivery of anti-cancer drugs result in “sewage” causing damage to the healthy cells besides killing the tumor cells. Secondly, these traditional methods are associated with a high degree of side effects.

Smart packages eliminate the chances of “sewage” by delivering pre-determined quantity of the anti-cancer drugs to the cancer cells without harming the healthy cells in the vicinity. This highly targeted approach also minimizes the side effects that usually accompany the anti-cancer treatment.

The concept of smart packages has already been proven and a paper based on this research titled “Paclitaxel-loaded phosphonated calixarene nanovesicles as a modular drug delivery platform “has already been published in the Scientific Reports.  

According to Professor Colin Raston, most of the research work that has been done so far was focused on the cell work but the researchers have now moved forward to the next phase of the development of smart packages.

A variety of cancers are expected to be nipped in the bud with this innovation. This research has taken the cancer therapy to the next level and is being refined further in order to maximize the benefits of nanotechnology based smart packages for cancer treatment.

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  • Photo courtesy of Arturo de Albornoz:https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveu4/2011237087/
  • Photo courtesy of krossbow: www.flickr.com/photos/krossbow/4655628005/
  • Photo courtesy of Arturo de Albornoz:https://www.flickr.com/photos/liveu4/2011237087/

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