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February 22nd, 2008
Nanotech Puts Cancer In The Cross Hairs
Unfortunately, when it comes to treating cancer, modern medicine is still in its infancy. By and large, we still rely on debilitating chemotherapy regimens which take a shotgun approach to curing cancer by essentially poisoning patients in an effort to eradicate tumors.
But nanotech represents a bright spot in the fight against cancer. Researchers are increasingly turning to new, innovative therapies, based on particles measuring less than 200 nanometers. At that scale, particles passively target weaker-walled cancer cells and help localize treatment, increasing its effectiveness while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
The medication Doxil, produced by Ortho Biotech Products LP--a unit of Johnson & Johnson (nyse: JNJ - news - people )--uses this approach to treat certain myeloma and ovarian cancers. It incorporates chemotherapy into 100-nm liposome particles that circulate through the blood over long periods and slip into the pores of tumor blood vessels, helping to concentrate treatment at the disease site.
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