News / Health

    Road to Lymphoma Cure Could be Paved with Gold

    Cancer patients receive chemotherapy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A new, experimental treatment for lymphoma could allow patients to forgo the often agonizing ordeal of chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)Cancer patients receive chemotherapy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A new, experimental treatment for lymphoma could allow patients to forgo the often agonizing ordeal of chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
    x
    Cancer patients receive chemotherapy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A new, experimental treatment for lymphoma could allow patients to forgo the often agonizing ordeal of chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
    Cancer patients receive chemotherapy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A new, experimental treatment for lymphoma could allow patients to forgo the often agonizing ordeal of chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
    A nanoparticle with a heart of gold could end up being enemy number one for lymphoma, and perhaps other types of cancer.

    A new study shows that synthetic HDL nanoparticles with gold at their core can kill B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of lymphoma, in cultured human cells. The study, conducted by C. Shad Thaxton, M.D. and Leo I. Gordon, M.D., both of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, also showed that the nanoparticles inhibited B-cell lymphoma tumor growth in mice.

    The concept behind the science works like this: Lymphoma cells love to eat
    cholesterol delivered to the cell by HDL. When the cells attach to the synthetic HDL nanoparticles, thinking they’re going to tuck into a big meal, the trap is sprung. The spongy surface of the nanoparticle sucks cholesterol out of the lymphoma cell and, in a devastating blow, the gold nanoparticle core prevents the cancer cell from acquiring the cholesterol-rich meal at the core of natural HDLs, thus starving it to death.

    This could mean future victims of lymphoma may be spared agonizing chemotherapy commonly administered today.

    When the particle has done its job, Thaxton said, preliminary data in mice show that the nanoparticles appears to be metabolized through the liver, and eventually passed out through feces.

    The notion of using the nanoparticle to fight cancer was born of pure luck.

    In 2010, Thaxton, who originally intended for the nanoparticle to be used against heart disease, was giving a lecture on his project. Gordon, a professor of hematology/oncology was in the audience. Gordon knew that patients with advanced forms of B-cell lymphoma sometimes show decreasing levels of cholesterol. He contacted Thaxton and they began to collaborate.

    They tested the HDL nanoparticle as a delivery mechanism for cancer drugs and the nanoparticle alone. Surprisingly, the nanoparticle without drugs was just as effective at killing the B-cell lymphoma cells.

    "We thought, 'That's odd. Why don't we need the drug?'" Gordon recalled.

    Thaxton said human trials are at least two years away, as the treatment will have to pass the standard hurdles set by the Food and Drug Administration before it is approved for use on people.

    While gold prices have been soaring in recent years, Thaxton doesn’t see the treatment becoming prohibitively expensive.

    “The cost of the material is very low because the particles are so small,” he said.  Each cholesterol particle uses a 5 nanometer diameter gold particle.

    Thaxton hopes the treatment could be effective against other cancers as well.

    “We’re just initiating that research,” he said. “In the paper, we show there are other [cancer] cell types that have the receptors for HDLs, which leads us to believe there may be other cancers that would respond.”

    The National Cancer Institute reports that in 2012 there were about 70,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the U.S. and nearly 19,000 deaths. About 90 percent of those new cases were B-cell lymphoma.

    Thaxton added that potential uses of the nanoparticles to fight heart disease are also being explored.

    The researchers’ paper was published January 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wendy Ferguson from: South Africa
    January 26, 2013 10:55 PM
    I think this nanotechnology is FANTASTIC. I supply breast prosthetics and meet with incredible people having to deal with the treatments of cancer on a daily basis. this breakthrough is incredible for the whole world. Please keep on keeping on in your quest to beat cancer. You are gems to the world THANK YOU for doing the work that you do!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora