Gold Nanoparticles to be Used as a Chemotherapy Alternative for Cancer Treatment
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new way of treating certain cancers using gold nanoparticles (GNPs). The nanoparticle treatment will have significant benefits over other method of treatment like chemotherapy and will be produced using a method called “seed mediated growth” and will take approximately 2 to 5 days to prepare (4).
Professor Won Park’s Nano Medicine was tailored specifically toward the treatment of bladder cancer and his method use the lasers to achieve a local removal of cancer cells.
Bladder cancer is among one of the most common types of cancer with more than 73 thousand cases having been open in 2012. Despite bladder cancer’s high survival rate, – 77.5 percent of patients who were diagnosed surviving after five years of being diagnosed are estimated to live (Figure 2)– it is a cancer that is frequently recurrent.
Figure 1: How the gold nano-particles are treated using seed mediated growth
In general, the survival rate of a given patient can be determined by the locality of the cancer when the patient is being screened. If a patient’s cancer is very localized at the time of screening, the patient’s survival rate is higher than if it weren’t.
Professor won’s research is applicable only to superficial cases of the cancer. In his research article, he stated “photothermal laser irradiation could be delivered to patients treated with intravesical, nanoparticle-directed therapy with minimal modification to currently utilized fiber optic cystoscopes in generalized clinical use.” (4)
This means that it is possible to treat the superficial bladder cancers using laser radiation. In addition, the fact that it requires very little modification to current laser radiation therapeutic methods for healing cancers, means that his method has the potential to be widely adopted.
Park’s gold nano particle medication serves as an alternative to chemotherapy. In most, if not all, cases of chemotherapy are very intense method for treating cancer. The side effects do vary from person to person. However, it is important to note the largest side effects of chemotherapy (1):
- nausea and vomiting
- diarrhoea or constipation (often due to anti-nausea medication)
- fatigue (tiredness)
- mouth sores or ulcers
- increased risk of infection
- increased risk of bruising
- hair loss
- muscle weakness
- skin sensitivity to sunlight (specific drugs only)
- dry or tired eyes
- loss of appetite.
Although bladder cancer may begin as superficial (a not so immediate threat to the body), if not treated effectively it may progress from superficial to life threatening.
Chemotherapy medications used to treat bladder cancer such as Cisplatin, yield many of the very undesirable side-effects. Chemotherapy attacks cells that divide quickly (i.e. cancer cells). But there are many other cells that also divide quickly like bone marrow, the lining of the intestines and mouth, and hair follicles. Therefore, it will attack other cells just as readily as cancerous ones. Because of the side effects, chemo is given in intervals of weeks (4).
Doctors who have prescribed their patients chemotherapy, have even said that they themselves wouldn’t undergo the process themselves! A study from Stanford university revealed that
Because of this, it is important to acknowledge that an alternative must be found. Professor Won Park’s research is certainly taking the right direction there.
Instead of having to inject chemicals in a patient’s body and have them dispurse, won park’s method will be to instead use tubes to inject the gold nano particles to the site of the bladder cancer in a controlled manner. This allows the medicine to adhere to the cancer cells effectively, and to prevent any excess amount of gold nano particles to be dispursed throughout the body. Administering excess amounts of nano particles into a patient has been closely studied recently, however no clear results as to what effects it may bring have come to light.
- “Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer.” American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cancer.org%2Fcancer%2Fbladdercancer%2Fdetailedguide%2Fbladder-cancer-treating-chemotherapy>.
- “Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment.” Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http://phys.org/news/2014-05-gold-nanoparticles-cancer-treatment.html>.
- Innes, Emma. “Most Doctors Who Were Terminally Ill Would AVOID Aggressive Treatments Such as Chemotherapy – despite Recommending It to Their Patients.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 30 May 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2643751/Most-doctors-terminally-ill-AVOID-aggressive-treatments-chemotherapy-despite-recommending-patients.html>.
- Park, Won, and T. W. Flaig. “Articles.” BMS: Bulletin of Sociological Methodology / Bulletin De Méthodologie Sociologique No. 109 (2011): 79-82. Colorado.edu. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http://ecee.colorado.edu/~wpark/papers/Journal%20of%20Biomedical%20Nanotechnology%202014%20Cho.pdf>.
- “Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.” Cancer of the Urinary Bladder. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/urinb.html>.
- “‘Trojan Horse’ Gold Nanoparticles Treatment Could Beat Brain Tumors.” ‘Trojan Horse’ Gold Nanoparticles Treatment Could Beat Brain Tumors. University of Cambridge, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. <http://phys.org/news/2014-08-trojan-horse-gold-nanoparticles-treatment.html>.