Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and The University of Chicago’s Brain Tumor Center have developed a technique that binds antibodies to titanium dioxide particles for guidance toward tumor sites. Once on target, the particles are activated by light to release free radicals that supposedly interfere with the mitochondria of cancer cells and kill them.
Titanium dioxide is a versatile photoreactive nanomaterial that can be bonded with biomolecules. When linked to an antibody, nanoparticles recognize and bind specifically to cancer cells. Focused visible light is shined onto the affected region, and the localized titanium dioxide reacts to the light by creating free oxygen radicals that interact with the mitochondria in the cancer cells. Mitochondria act as cellular energy plants, and when free radicals interfere with their biochemical pathways, mitochondria receive a signal to start cell death.
X-ray fluorescence microscopy done at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source also showed that the tumors’ invadopodia, actin-rich micron scale protrusions that allow the cancer to invade surrounding healthy cells, can be also attacked by the titanium dioxide.
So far, tests have been done only on cells in a laboratory setting, but animal testing is planned for the next phase. Results show an almost 100 percent cancer cell toxicity rate after six hours of illumination and 80 percent after 48 hours following 5 minutes’ exposure to focused light.
Also, since the antibody only targets the cancer cells, surrounding healthy cells are not affected—unlike other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Full story: Argonne, University of Chicago scientists develop targeted cancer treatment using nanomaterials …
Abstract in Nano Letters: A High-Performance Nanobio Photocatalyst for Targeted Brain Cancer Therapy
Image: X-ray fluorescent imaging of the TiO2-mAb binding to the single brain cancer cells.