Nanobombs might deliver agents that alter gene activity in cancer stem cells

Story excerpt provided by The Ohio State University College of Engineering.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed nanoparticles that swell and burst when exposed to near-infrared laser light.

Such “nanobombs” might overcome a biological barrier that has blocked development of agents that work by altering the activity – the expression – of genes in cancer cells. The agents might kill cancer cells outright or stall their growth.

The kinds of agents that change gene expression are generally forms of RNA (ribonucleic acid), and they are notoriously difficult to use as drugs. First, they are readily degraded when free in the bloodstream. In this study, packaging them in nanoparticles that target tumor cells solved that problem.

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Originally published December 8, 2015.

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