URI scientist collects $1.3M to blast tumors with nanoparticles

Researcher Wei Lu, University of Rhode Island--Courtesy of URI

A University of Rhode Island researcher won a National Institutes of Health grant of $1.3 million to further study the use of cancer-targeting copper sulfide nanoparticles for breast cancer.

Photothermal ablation therapy employs lasers to burn and kill tumors. And when nanoparticles are introduced, they absorb more of the light, bringing more heat to the tumor directly. URI's Wei Lu is looking to improve this process with nanoparticles that more thoroughly infiltrate a tumor.

"As is the case with surgical removal of a tumor, getting all of the cancer is critical," Lu said in a statement. "The new nanoparticles provide a three-way punch to the tumor: a more widespread ability in a tumor to distribute heat and burn the tumor, a more efficient and comprehensive way to deliver chemotherapy and better use of heat to activate the chemotherapeutic agents and immunotherapeutic agents. The new nanotechnology offers promise in tumor eradication."

The technology makes use of near-infrared light instead of ultraviolet light, according to the report, because it is better at penetrating the tumor and comes with fewer side effects.

- here's the URI report