To deal with this, chemical and biomedical engineers at Penn State have developed nanoparticles that closely resemble hairy cellulose nanocrystals found in plants. These "hairs" are designed to essentially mop-up the excess drug limiting the exposure to healthy non-targeted tissue. This research is due to be published in the March issue of Materials Today Chemistry.
Amir Sheiki, one of the lead designers at Penn State had this to say about it:
"To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no nanoparticle-based super-capacity drug capture system," Sheikhi said, noting that the development of such a system could have significant impact on cancer treatment plans. "For some organs, like the liver, chemotherapy can be locally administered through catheters. If we could place a device based on the nanocrystals to capture the excess drugs exiting the liver's inferior vena cava, a major blood vessel, clinicians could potentially administer higher doses of chemotherapy to kill the cancer more quickly without worry about damaging healthy cells. Once the treatment is finished, the device could be removed."
The benefit is that higher doses of the medication can be given to patients to kill the cancer more quickly and effectively without worrying about damaging healthy tissues. Researchers found that for every gram of these hairy nanocrystals, 6,000 mg of Doxorubicin could be removed from human serum.
To read more about this research follow this link to Phys.org, a web-based science, research and technology news service that covers a wide range of topics.