Implanting a “Trojan horse” into cancer cells

  Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Although there are various treatment options such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, the median survival time of patients is only about 15 months.
  The current global standard of care for GBM patients includes chemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ), a drug that extends patients’ life expectancy by about two months compared with radiotherapy alone. However, over time, GBM cells develop resistance to TMZ, reducing its efficacy and increasing the likelihood of tumor recurrence.
  Dr. Xi Huang, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and Professor Yu Sun, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Robotics Institute at the University of Toronto, have proposed a new approach to treat chemotherapy-resistant GBM with precision magnetic control. Huang Xi pointed out that by using nanotechnology to penetrate deep into cancer cells, mechanical nanosurgery acts like a “Trojan horse” to destroy tumor cells from within.
  Magnetic carbon nanotubes (mCNTs) are nanomaterials that are cylindrical microtubes composed of carbon atoms filled with iron and become magnetized when activated by an external magnetic field. In the new study, the team coated mCNTs with antibodies that recognize specific proteins associated with GBM tumor cells. Once injected into a tumor, the antibodies on the mCNTs cause them to seek out and be taken up by tumor cells. Mechanical stimulation can be provided by mechanically moving the nanotubes using a rotating magnetic field. The force exerted by the nanotubes disrupts cellular structures and leads to tumor cell death.
  Mechanical nanosurgery may also have further applications in other types of cancer, Huang said, “Theoretically, by changing the antibody coating and redirecting the nanotubes to the desired tumor site, we may precisely destroy other cancers.” of tumor cells”.

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