A nanotech method to capture cancer cells and remove them from the body might be useful for combating ovarian cancer, in particular. From Georgia Tech, via AAAS EurekAlert “Using magenetic nanoparticles to combat cancer“:
Scientists at Georgia Tech have developed a potential new treatment against cancer that attaches magnetic nanoparticles to cancer cells, allowing them to be captured and carried out of the body. The treatment, which has been tested in the laboratory and will now be looked at in survival studies, is detailed online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society [abstract].
“We’ve been able to use magnetic nanoparticles to capture free-floating cancer cells and then take them out of the body,” said John McDonald, chair of the School of Biology at Georgia Tech and chief research scientist at the Ovarian Cancer Institute. “This technology may be of special importance in the treatment of ovarian cancer where the malignancy is typically spread by free-floating cancer cells released from the primary tumor into the abdominal cavity.”
…After giving the cancer cells in the mice a fluorescent green tag and staining the magnetic nanoparticles red, they were able to apply a magnet and move the green cancer cells to the abdominal region.
“If the therapy is able to pass further tests that show it can prevent the cancer from spreading from the original tumor,” Scarberry said, “it could be an important tool in cancer treatment.”
LInked to the polymer coating the magnetic nanoparticles are peptides that bind to a receptor protein expressed on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. The researchers claim that their approach would also be applicable to other cancer cells for which appropriate receptor proteins and peptides have been identified.