Colorado Daily, CO 04-08-06 Iowa State U. prof develops new cancer treatment

Colorado Daily, CO
Iowa State U. prof develops new cancer treatment
By Karl Peterson Iowa State Daily (Iowa State U.)
(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa - A new development in science technology has potential
to change medicine forever.
Dr. Victor Shang-Yi Lin, associate professor of chemistry at Iowa State
University, and his research group are developing a nanotechnology platform
that could have a profound effect on disciplines ranging from cancer treatment to
genetic research.
Lin's work involves materials called mesoporous silica nanospheres. These
structures, with a particle diameter less then one-hundredth that of a strand of
human hair, contain numerous duct-like channels. The channels present a
unique opportunity for nanoscopic chemical storage and delivery, whether the
payload is anti-tumor drugs, nutrients or custom genetic material.
“Our ultimate goal is to use these structures like a Trojan horse,” Lin said. “The
idea is that we can hide different drugs or imaging agents inside.”
When the passenger chemicals are securely contained in the nanostructure, it
becomes much easier to deliver them in a very precise manner to plant or animal
The delivery of chemotherapy drugs to the tumor sites of cancer patients is one
example of how it can benefit doctors and patients.
“The problem with anti-tumor drugs is that they do not only kill tumor cells,” Lin
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have long experienced debilitating
and dangerous side effects when the healthy cells of their body are attacked by
anti-tumor drugs, but Lin has found that porous nanostructures offer a new way
to approach the problem.
“One way to circumvent the problem is to have a carrier that will actually deliver
this drug selectively to the tumor site without hurting the normal cells ... that's the
holy grail,” Lin said.
For the nanospheres to function effectively as carriers, they must be capable of
entering a cell without being destroyed. Fortunately, investigation of this question
has provided promising results.
“Our particles turn out to be very biocompatible,” Lin said.