This week’s article is Cancer: ‘Tumour monorail’ can lead cancers to their doom, originally published on February 17, and an article on the same technology, Promising brain tumor treatment hijacks “monorail” that lets cancer spread, published February 18. I admit that I know very little about nanotechnology, but I find it an intriguing field. Much of its output is related to treating human diseases such as cancer, and by melding together biology with engineering principles, there is a whole realm of potential that I think will play a huge role in disease treatment in the future. There recently have been strides made in using nanotechnology to more precisely target drugs to some difficult-to-reach areas of the body. However, this article interested me because it is not related to drug delivery. Instead, the nanotechnology itself is helping to treat the cancer.
The BBC article (first link) does leave out a lot of information regarding how this “nanofibre technology…mimics the channels cancerous cells use to move,” but the CBS article (second link) explains that the surface of the nanofiber “mimics the surfaces of nerves and blood vessels that glioblastoma cells would typically follow” and gives them an alternative pathway to follow instead, leading the cancer cells towards drugs that will kill them.
I chose this week’s articles because of the potential therapeutic impact this technology can have. This week’s important concepts are related to the cancer side of things, with a focus on why new treatments for glioblastoma are important, as well as a reference to the original paper, from Nature Materials, that describes this technology: