Radio therapy

The researches find that the A cancer therapy invented at Rice University has crossed a milestone in clinical trials, a major development in a decadeslong quest to develop a treatment that destroys tumors without the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy, invasive surgery and radiation. Therefore Thirteen of the first 15 prostate cancer patients treated in a clinical trial of the nanoparticle-based, focal therapy showed no detectable signs of cancer a year after treatment; but according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Invasive surgery and radiation

The paper presents the results from 16 patients who were treated at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. It is believed to be the first published clinical study of a photothermal cancer therapy  one that uses illuminated nanoparticles to heat and destroy tumors  in a refereed scientific journal; said the study’s authors. Because In the study; 16 men ages 58 to 79 with low- to intermediate-risk localized prostate cancer agreed to participate in a trial of AuroLase Therapy; a focal ablation treatment that uses gold nanoparticles to heat and destroy tumors.

Fifteen of the 16 patients underwent the two-day treatment; receiving an intravenous infusion of nanoparticles on day one and undergoing an image-guided ablation treatment on day two. All of the patients went home on the day of the treatment and returned for follow-up tests at three months; six months and one year after treatment. Of the 15 who completed treatment, only two showed detectable signs of cancer in follow-up biopsies and MRIs one year later.

Reducing unwanted side effects

“Gold-silica nanoshell infusion allows for a focused therapy that treats the cancer while sparing the rest of the prostate; thus preserving a patient’s quality of life by reducing unwanted side effects; But which could include erectile dysfunction and/or the leakage of urine; ” said study lead author and trial principal investigator Dr. Ardeshir Rastinehad, associate professor of urology and radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The trial; which is ongoing and has treated 44 patients at Mount Sinai and two other clinical sites in Michigan and Texas; is the culmination of a 20-year quest by Rice University engineer and nanoscientist Naomi Halas and Duke University bioengineer Jennifer West.

Halas and West, co-authors of the new study; first envisioned the nanoparticle-based therapy around 2000 while working together in Rice’s Brown School of Engineering. Therefore The particles, tiny silica spheres with a thin outer layer of gold, are called nanoshells. They are about 50 times smaller than a red blood cell; and Halas invented them at Rice in 1997. By varying the thickness of the gold shell; Halas had shown she could tune nanoshells to interact with specific wavelengths of light.