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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid