Leading researchers in the US state of Texas have teamed up to test a new treatment for pancreatic cancer that uses specially engineered nanoparticles capable of both diagnosing and destroying cancer cells.
University of Texas,researchers from Rice University along with those from the Baylor College of Medicine will conduct a five-year pre-clinical testing programme under a USD 1.8-million grant by the newly-announced Alliance for in Cancer programme of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The programme will be led by Naomi Halas,a professor of electrical and computer engineering,chemistry and biomedical engineering at Rice University.
It was Halas,who invented the “gold nanoshells” at the heart of the treatment.
The tiny gold-coated particles at the centre of this research can convert light into heat that destroys cancer cells,but they can also be tagged with specialised antibodies that can detect and zero in on specific types of cancer cells.
Researchers can then track the particles throughout the body.
Nearly 37,000 people in the United States have died of pancreatic cancer in 2010,and more than 43,000 new cases have been diagnosed. The five-year survival rate is less than 25 per cent.