Technology trio teams to kill cancer

Biomedical scientists at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center and nanotechnology researchers from UT Dallas are testing a new way to kill cancer cells selectively by using a trio of tools: antibodies, nanotubes, and light.

The researchers used monoclonal antibodies that target specific sites on lymphoma cells to coat carbon nanotubes, small cylinders of graphite carbon. “Once the carbon nanotubes have bound to the tumor cells, an external source of near-infrared light can be used to safely penetrate normal tissues and kill the tumor cells,” said Dr. Ellen Vitetta, director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. Nanotubes coated with an unrelated antibody neither bound to nor killed the tumor cells.

The team used nanotubes for several reasons. “We chose them because they are commercially available, relatively inexpensive, are the right size, and can be made biocompatible,” Dr. Vitetta said, adding that the short, single-walled nanotubes are very effective at converting near-infrared light into heat. “This does not mean that five other things would have not worked as well,” she explained, “But we had to start somewhere.”


This transmission electron microscopy image of individual biotinylated carbon nanotubes show uniform coverage of biotin after immunodetection with gold-labeled antibiotin.
Click here to enlarge image

Near-infrared light can penetrate human tissue up to about 1½ in.; living tissues do not strongly absorb radiation in this range.

“We have worked with targeted therapies for many years, and even when this degree of specificity can be demonstrated in a laboratory dish, there are many hurdles to translating these new therapies into clinical studies,” said Vitetta. “We’re just beginning to test this in mice, and although there is no guarantee it will work, we are optimistic.”

The use of carbon nanotubes to destroy cancer cells with heat is being explored by several research groups, but this study is the first to show that the antibody and the carbon nanotubes retained their physical properties and their functional abilities—binding to and killing only the targeted cells, even when the antibody-nanotube complex was placed in a setting designed to mimic conditions inside the human body. –BG

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

(SLIDESHOW) View the July/August 2013 issue

ONCOLOGY/CANCER TREATMENT: Study reveals potential of terahertz pulses to fight cancer

Terahertz (THz) photons don't have sufficient energy to break apart the bonds that bind DNA in a cell's nucleus.

OPTOACOUSTICS/OXIMETRY: Real-time photoacoustics beats pulse oximetry by measuring oxygenation in single cells

Red blood cells ferry oxygen to a body's cells and tissues by way of arteries, veins, and capillaries.

SPECTROSCOPY/ONCOLOGY/GYNECOLOGY: First-ever minimally invasive ovarian cancer screen is spectroscopy-based

Researchers at Northwestern University and NorthShore University HealthSystem have previously demonstrated the ability of partial-wave spectroscopy to detect subtle changes in cells that indicate c...

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World

Copyright © 2007-2016. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS