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April 4th, 2010
Of science and culture
Whatever our cultural backgrounds, science was our common cause. We discussed some aspects of cancer nanotechnology.
When we give an anti-cancer drug to a patient (usually injected into a vein), we have no control over how the drug is distributed and how long it stays in the body. Ideally, we want as little as possible of it in the patient's normal tissues and organs and as much of it as possible in cancer cells.
In the last couple of decades, research in nanotechnology has allowed us to do just that. Doxorubicin and paclitaxel are two drugs commonly used in the treatment of cancer.
Nanotechnology formulations of these two drugs are available. Vectors carry the drugs - size of vector plus drug is 10 to 50 nanometers - to the cancer cells with little of the drug diffusing into normal tissues. Consequently, there will be more tumour cell kill and less damage to normal tissues.
I was particularly happy when we discussed one drug of this class, paclitaxel polymeric micelle. It was designed in Korea and is marketed by an Indonesian company. The Asian century beckons even in science and technology.
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