Metallic nanoparticles that can locate and attach to specific tumor cells have been developed before. Now a team from Georgia Institute of Technology managed to use magnetite and cobalt nanoparticles to not only attach, but to utilize them as magnets, to pull the nanoparticle along with the cancer cell it is riding on, hence to sort and to sieve malignant from normal cells .
From the article abstract:
Magnetic cobalt spinel ferrite nanoparticles coated with biocompatible polygalacturonic acid were functionalized with ligands specific for targeting expressed EphA2 receptors on ovarian cancer cells. By using such magnetic nanoparticle−peptide conjugates, targeting and extraction of malignant cells were achieved with a magnetic field. Targeting ovarian cancer cells with receptor specific peptide-modified magnetic nanoparticles resulted in cell capture from a flow stream in vitro and from the peritoneal cavity of mice in vivo. Successful removal of metastatic cancer cells from the abdominal cavity and circulation using magnetic nanoparticle conjugates indicate the feasibility of a dialysis-like treatment and may improve long-term survival rates of ovarian cancer patients. This approach can be applied for fighting other cancers, such as leukemia, once the receptors on malignant cells are identified and the efficacy of targeting ligands is established.
Abstract in J. Am. Chem. Soc.…
Image: In red are nanoparticles coated with a tumor targeting peptide attached to an ovarian cancer cell. Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc. Copyright 2008 American Chemical Society
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