How Tiny Gold Nanotubes Could Help Defeat Mesothelioma
Nicole Winch | January 6, 2021
Researchers around the world are continuously looking for new and improved ways to treat mesothelioma. In the United Kingdom, scientists have recently found that gold nanotubes could be a promising breakthrough to treat this rare and aggressive disease.
In early tests, these nanotubes proved that they could target and destroy mesothelioma cancer cells in a laboratory setting. The next stage of research would include adapting their work for use on humans.
The gold nanotubes are bullet-shaped, subcellular tubes that measure only one-thousandth the width of a human hair. They are made up of a solid silver nanorod that dissolves when covered in a gold solution leaving a hollow nanotube.
According to the researchers at the University of Cambridge, they enter the cancer cells and absorb light. The nanotubes begin to overheat from the light and as a result, kill the mesothelioma cell they’re within.
The team found that their primary challenge was modifying their tubes to the right:
- Wall thickness
- Ability to absorb light
“Having control over the size and shape of the nanotubes allows us to tune them to absorb light where the tissue is transparent and will allow them to be used for both the imaging and treatment of cancers,” said Professor Stephen Evans at the University of Leeds.
After more research, the University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds scientists found that using a laser light helps to target the mesothelioma cells specifically, leaving the surrounding tissue free from harm.
This means that doctors and specialists may soon have another way to eliminate tumors without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
While this is only the beginning of another possible mesothelioma treatment, it’s important that patients stay knowledgeable of new and experimental options like these nanotubes.
Oftentimes, patients face a better chance of survival when provided with multiple choices for therapy. Understanding how each treatment works is crucial when determining which therapy is best for your unique case.