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How Polymer Nanoparticles Can Kill Colorectal Cancer Cells

Last posted Nov 21, 2012 at 12:28AM EST. Added Nov 20, 2012 at 08:59PM EST
4 posts from 4 users

Maybe I should’v given this information to myself on the time travel thread…

Nov 20, 2012 at 11:59PM EST

I know all about CP.


CP meaning Conductive Polymers. I also know a ton about NIR spectroscopy.

I’ve read the paper, so let me summarize the research for you:

  • Near-IR photothermal therapy, using nanoparticles, for cancer treatment is well-established. Basically, a near-infrared laser is shot at the cancerous area, heating it up to about 50°C. Skin tissue is transparent at those wavelengths. You need some sort of nanoparticle to be injected into the cancerous area for it to work, however.
  • Some types of nanoparticles that have been used are carbon nanotubes and gold nanoparticles. The problem with these is that they don’t go away after the cancer is dead, hence the need for a biodegradable version.
  • Polymers can hopefully fit this requirement.

After reading the paper, I think that they didn’t really show why polymer nanoparticles are better than, say, carbon nanotubes. They have similar photothermal efficiencies (they heat up the cells more or less the same amount at the same concentration), which means that there’s really no improvement. They compare some other kinds of polymer nanoparticles and found that theirs work better, but they didn’t mention carbon nanotubes in that section.

The authors mention that the polymer nanoparticles are more biocompatible than carbon nanotubes, but don’t really explain why other than just saying that they could be functionalized with some sort of biocompatible coating. They also say (and it’s quoted in that article) that their polymer nanoparticles exhibit no cytotoxicity to the cancer cells, but the don’t mention if carbon nanotubes do or not.

Basically, I don’t think this article was very well-written. I’d send it back and make them do more research before publishing it. I will say this: it seems feasible, but it doesn’t seem to offer any large advantages over existing methods. And the work in the paper itself isn’t even that new; they reference a paper published in 2011 that shows pretty much the same research.

Long story short: I’m not convinced that this is going to be the next big thing in cancer treatment.

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:28AM EST

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