Particles combine heat, light, drug therapy to combat cancer

As part of the continuing fight against cancer, Spanish researchers have developed a drug delivery particle that wraps gold nanoparticles in a shell made of silica and the cancer drug, camptothecin, to combat cancer using heat, light and drug therapy.

The particles accumulate in the tumor. The gold particles then absorb the light from a laser, heating up and destroying the cancer cells. Any remaining cells are killed by the release of the cytotoxic drug camptothecin.

"This ensures much greater effectiveness than traditional therapy, and the absence of side effects from the anti-tumor drug in other tissues," says professor Eduardo Fernández of the Institute of Chemical Technology of Valencia.

This technique could have potential in skin cancer and brain cancers such as glioma, and the researchers are moving development ahead into animal studies, though they concede that human trials are still a long way off.

- see the abstract
- check out the press release