NANJING: Chinese scientists have developed a nanometer material that is considered the newest and most effective way to cure liver cancer, according to the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ACS).
Integrated with radiotherapy, the material provides an efficient and safe strategy for treating liver cancer, said scientists of the institute.
Radiotherapy, which is a standard means of cancer treatment, plays an important role in the clinic.
But hypoxic microenvironments are prevalent in solid tumors. Such tumor tissue is not sensitive to radiation, often allowing some cancer cells to survive and risk tumor recurrence.
For a long time, researchers have been looking for a new method to improve therapeutic effects and enhance radiosensitivity in hypoxic environments so as to completely eradicate tumors.
Scientists at the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology fabricated a nanoparticle made of silicon dioxide and gold.
The new nanomaterial, about 200 nanometers long and 100 nanometers wide, reaches tumor tissues by intravenous injection and can also be loaded with telazamine, a drug that enhances anti-tumor effects in the absence of oxygen.
Experiments on mice with liver cancer have shown that the newly developed nanoparticles enhance the sensitivity of tumor tissue to radiation, and that the photothermal effect of gold is also effective in fighting tumors.
In addition, carrying tirapazamine can effectively supplement the poor effect of radiotherapy on hypoxic tumor tissues, producing toxic substances in hypoxic environments and killing cancer cells.
“The material provides a new form of anti-tumor therapy. We will continue to study the effects of nanomaterial in the fight against breast cancer, lung cancer and other cancers.
If it works equally well, the new material will have broad application prospects,” said Dong Wenfei, a researcher of the institute who led the study.
A paper on the results of the research was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces on September 25.
Liver cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of a liver. Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.
Several types of cancer can form in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other types of liver cancer, such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are much less common.
Cancer that spreads to the liver is more common than cancer that begins in the liver cells. Cancer that begins in another area of the body — such as the colon, lung or breast — and then spreads to the liver is called metastatic cancer rather than liver cancer.
This type of cancer is named after the organ in which it began — such as metastatic colon cancer to describe cancer that begins in the colon and spreads to the liver.