Turkish scientists at the Gazi University Research Center for Nano-Medicine and Advanced Technologies have succeeded in destroying cancerous cells with drug-loaded microscale nanocages in a research carried out in cooperation with the Washington University.The research was published in the Nature Materials' November edition. The New York Times also gave broad place to the groundbreaking development.
Associate Professor Gurer Budak, director of the Research Center for Nano-Medicine and Advanced Technologies, said, "scientists have been seeking the way of delivering tiny amounts of drug to a specific target in cancer treatment. This method will enable us to deliver anticancer compounds directly to tumors."
"Our center cooperates with the world's most important research centers. One of our experts, Mustafa Selman Yavuz, is working with Dr. Younan Xia with the Washington University. Their study has given quite successful results in laboratory," he said.
Dr. Yavuz, who carries out the research, said, "we use cubes of gold with sides about 50-billionths of a meter long and holes at each corner. They are coated with strands of a smart polymer. The polymer strands are normally extended and bushy and cover the holes in the cube. But when heated, the strands collapse, leaving the holes open and allowing the drug inside to escape."
"After injecting those drug-filled cubes directly to tumors, we heat the nanocage with near-infrared light. Near-infrared wavelengths are not greatly absorbed by body tissues, but they are absorbed by gold. Then the holes would open and the drug would be released," he added.