Cancer scientists at the University of Bath in England have made it slightly easier to fight cancer by making the tiny nanoparticles involved in fighting cancer glow in the dark. The university’s team from the Department of Chemistry made a public announcement about the discovery. These nanoparticles are markers that attach to the cells and drugs that fight cancer and by making them glow in the dark, they are easier for scientists to follow through the body and to study them in the laboratory setting.
University of Bath
The team from the University of Bath is working with a group from the Harwell Research Complex, as well as from private organizations that make nanoparticles for research teams around the world. Two scientists from the University of Bath, Dr. Sofia Pascu and Professor Tony James are hoping that their work with glow in the dark nanoparticles will make it easier for scientists to fight cancer. They are also hoping that their work makes cancer-fighting research more cost-effective and manageable so that doctors all over the world can diagnose and treat cancerous tumors more effectively.
This group has been awarded a large dollar amount from the Technology Strategy Board in Swindon, England, to fund this research. They believe that this research will make it easier to research diseases like cancer and develop more ways to treat the disease. By bringing together private industries and college research teams, the Technology Strategy Board believes that more discoveries will come that will help more people in the long run.
There are already technologies in place that will mark nanoparticles and antibodies with a dye, but the dye fades once it attaches to a cell or a drug that the scientists are researching. This new group of glow in the dark nanoparticles makes it much easier and efficient to see what those antibodies and nanoparticles do with the drug. They can watch how the cancer cells behave and what happens at the nano-level.
The project is led by Dr. Sofia Pascu who sees the research as an exciting development as the nanoparticles have targeting molecules. This opens up a huge possibility for research, diagnosis, and imaging work because scientists can create customized antibodies or obtain them from a custom antibodies company that can be used for a variety of different diseases. She commented on the fact that the dyes that are already being used are very expensive, rather unstable, and very toxic, which is not beneficial to research and development.
The new fluorescent nanoparticles will not disrupt the biological materials that the scientists are studying. They are also significantly less expensive than the current toxically dyed particles that interfere with research.
This research is not only being funded by the Technology Strategy Board and other private groups, but there is a group of alumni from the University of Bath who have also put forth a large donation to make this research come to fruition. She is happy that the contributions made by the former students are making a big difference.
According to her, longer-term, the developed technology may form the imaging and synthetic platforms to help endoscopes in the delivery of nanoparticles to the tumors, with the main goal of making it easier for clinicians in diagnosing and treating inaccessible tumors.