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Stevens Institute of Technology (“Stevens”) has announced some great results impacting cancer therapies.

In this note, I’ll describe

  • How Stevens is working with Hackensack Meridian Health on innovative drug delivery
  • The crossover between the physical sciences and the life sciences continues
  • “Good as Gold” has a new meaning for health
  • It’s early in the research and more good news is expected

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Now for the story . . . .

Stevens and Hackensack Meridian Health Collaborating

The fight against cancer has long been a challenging journey filled with hopeful peaks and despairing valleys.

Each step towards a breakthrough in treatment brings new light to the lives of millions affected by this malady. One such hopeful advancement is a recent discovery in the field of nanomedicine, where researchers have developed a method to deliver therapies more precisely to tumors, using gold nanoparticles. This groundbreaking method holds the promise of minimizing the collateral damage often caused by cancer treatments.

The traditional approach to combating cancer with chemotherapy or radiation therapy is akin to a brute-force attack, where the entire body is subjected to potent medications or high-energy beams. Unfortunately, these methods are not without their significant pitfalls, as they can harm healthy tissues and lead to severe side effects. This is where the new system of drug delivery, developed by Stevens researchers in collaboration with Hackensack Meridian Health (“HMH”), marks a pivotal change.

Crossover of Physical Sciences and Life Sciences

The crux of this innovative technique lies in encasing medication within gold nanoparticles, sealed by a hyaluronic-acid coating. Gold’s remarkable stability makes it an excellent material for this purpose. These tiny carriers are designed to release their payload only after attaching themselves to specific receptors found on the surface of lymphoma tumors. This level of precision ensures that the medication affects the tumor directly, reducing the likelihood of it leaking into the bloodstream and affecting the rest of the body.

The implications of this are profound. In recent animal studies, researchers observed a significant improvement in how lymphoma tumors responded to the nanoparticle-mediated treatment compared to non-targeted therapies. The targeted approach means that lower doses of medication might be required, which in turn would reduce the risk of harmful side effects.

New Meaning for “Good as Gold”

Another advantage of using gold nanoparticles is their longevity in the bloodstream. They circulate for extended periods, which could potentially allow for less frequent treatment schedules. This would be a considerable benefit to patients who currently have to endure the rigors of regular, often debilitating treatments.

The initial success of these gold nanoparticles in lymphoma treatment is just the beginning. The research team, led by Dr. Hongjun Wang of Stevens, is looking to expand this technology to treat multiple myeloma and other challenging cancers. Future developments may include sophisticated pore sealants that use antibodies to target a wider variety of tumors.

More Research to be Done

Moreover, these nanoparticles might also serve as contrast agents for precise tumor imaging or even be used in hyperthermia therapy, where they are infused with light energy to “cook” tumors from within.

While the journey to widespread clinical application is still ongoing, the potential benefits of this new approach to cancer treatment are vast. It represents a shift towards more humane and targeted cancer care, where the disease is attacked without laying siege to the patient’s body. The hope is that this technology will eventually be part of the standard arsenal against cancer, bringing us closer to the ultimate goal of curing even the most stubborn forms of this disease.

As we await the results of clinical trials and further research, the collaboration between Stevens researchers and HMH clinicians, including Johannes Zakrzewski, continues to blaze a trail in the search for safer, more effective cancer treatments. This research, published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, is a testament to the innovative spirit driving medical science forward, offering a beacon of hope for a future where cancer may be confronted with precision, less fear, and greater hope.

See more of the details here.



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