Nanotechnology to help cure cancer
“Nanotechnology – the science and engineering of controlling matter, at the molecular scale, to create devices with novel chemical, physical and/or biological properties.” (National Cancer Institute, n.d.). Nanotechnology can be applied to many different situations and is becoming one of the most effective solutions to many problems. Nanotechnology is incredible in the way that it allows scientists to control and manipulate matter at a molecular/atomic scale. For an example, carbon is quite soft when it is in its normally occurring form which is known as graphite but it becomes incredibly hard when its tightly packed in to a Nanoscopic arrangement called a carbon nanotube. 1 in 2 Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85 (Cancer Council, 2017). Cancer is one of the deadliest disease on Earth to date. Nanotechnology is being applied to cancer because the treatment is less harmful on the healthy cells and only targets the cancerous tumour cells in the body. The nanotechnology cure is also more effective at killing off the cancerous cells.
How it works
It involves targeted chemotherapy that delivers a kind of tumour killing agent. It is called tumour necrosis factor alpha or it is also known as TNF. The TNF molecule is connected to a gold nanoparticle. Also, connected to this is a molecule of Thiol-derivatized polyethylene glycol. This lets the nanoparticle flow through the bloodstream without being attacked by the immune system. The nanoparticle that carries the TNF usually accumulates in the cancerous tumours and not in other areas of the body. This limits the toxic effects of the TNF on healthy cells in the body.
Figure 1.1 Gold Nanoparticles Targeting Tumor Cells
Effectiveness of the treatment
The nanoparticle treatment is very effective and the pros of the treatment outweigh the cons a lot. The pros about the treatment: Specific Targeting, Speed/Effectiveness: Because the drugs are delivered straight to the specific location where the cancer is, the drugs do not affect any other parts of the body and the process is a lot more effective. The drugs target the cancerous cells and do not harm the healthy cells meaning that normal cells are not killed off in the process. Limited Side Effects: Because of the specialized targeting of the drugs, the drugs don’t hurt other healthy cells which limits the side effects of the treatment. Some of the side effects of Chemotherapy (the traditional treatment) are: Fatigue, Hair Loss, Easy bruising/bleeding, anemia and nausea/vomiting. These side effects occur when the Chemotherapy kills of the healthy striving cells, the nanoparticle treatment completely eliminates this due to its targeting method. Disadvantages about the treatment: Body Immune System Weakens: Because of the thiol-derivatized polyethylene glycol which hides the nanoparticles from the immune system, the body doesn’t have to fight off the medicine. Long term use of...