Doctors today have a powerful arsenal of cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs to choose from, but a key challenge remains: to better target these drugs. The hope is to kill tumors while limiting a drug’s potentially harmful side effects, and researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory may have a found a way.
The scientists at Berkeley Lab are helping to develop and test materials for a new device that can be inserted into a vein through a tiny tube and soak up most of chemotherapy drugs like a sponge. The material is designed to bind the drug, based on its electric charge, after the drug targets tumors and before it circulates throughout the body. This would happen after a separate tube delivers a more concentrated dose to tumors–and before the drugs can widely circulate in the bloodstream.
FROM FUEL CELL TO CANCER TREATMENT
The Berkeley Lab project is the responsibility of X. Chelsea Chen, a postdoctoral researcher working in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. Chen had been investigating polymer materials used in fuel cell technology when she learned about the drug-capture system.
She saw that the proposed device could benefit from the property in the fuel cell materials which allows them to attract and capture certain molecules, while allowing other types of molecules to flow through.
This is important, since an increasingly popular liver-cancer treatment, known as TACE, can allow up to half of the chemotherapy dose to reach the rest of the body, with negative side effects. “In our lab experiments, the current design can absorb 90 percent of the drug in 25-30 minutes,” Chen said.
+Info and Source: http://goo.gl/JlKXhA