Nanotechnology is a new field that offers scientists the ability to control matter in very small dimensions including enhancement of the delivery of drugs to treat mesothelioma and lung cancer. Materials at the nanoscale can have different properties compared to their conventionally-scaled counterparts. Scientists can use the properties to enhance the quality of a drug. Because these properties have the ability to affect not only the effectiveness, but the safety of drugs, the FDA is currently studying issues related to Nanotechnology in medical products according to Celia N. Cruz, Ph.D., at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers currently has limited treatment options which primarily manage symptoms as currently there is no cure. However, researchers at MIT are looking to nanotechnology as a way to attack mesothelioma. Researchers have found a way to amplify cancer proteins which will enhance the ability to detect them. Specifically, MIT researchers developed “nanoparticles” that can home to a tumor and interact with cancer proteins to produce thousands of biomarkers which would be easily detected in the patient’s urine. “This biomarker amplification system could also be used to monitor disease progression and track how tumors respond to treatment” according to Professor Sangeeta Bhatia at MIT. Nanotechnology is a new and exciting field of research that will hopefully result in new medical products that will benefit mesothelioma and lung cancer patients.