Nanotechnology kills cancer cells
: Another study with light-activated nanoparticles. "The technique works by inserting microscopic synthetic rods called carbon nanotubules into cancer cells. When the rods are exposed to near-infra red light from a laser they heat up, killing the cell, while cells without rods are left unscathed. ..
Under normal circumstances near-infra red light passes through the body harmlessly. But the Stanford team found that if they placed a solution of carbon nanotubules under a near-infra red laser beam, the solution heated up to about 70C in two minutes. They then placed the tubules inside cells, and found they were quickly destroyed by the heat generated by the laser beam. .. The next step was to find a way to introduce the nantubules into cancer cells, but not healthy cells. The researchers did this by taking advantage of the fact that, unlike normal cells, the surface of cancer cells is covered with receptors for a vitamin known as folate. They coated the nanotubules with folate molecules, making it easy for them to pass into cancer cells, but unable to bind with their healthy cousins. Exposure to the laser duly killed off the diseased cells, but left the healthy ones untouched.
The researchers believe it should be possible to refine the technique still further, for instance by attaching an antibody to a nanotubule to target a particular kind of cancer cell. 4:18:48 AM