By Michael J. Sailor1, Ji-Ho Park1, Sangeeta N. Bhatia2, Geoffrey von Maltzahn2, and Erkki Ruoslahti1


Collaborating Centers:


1 Center of Nanotechnology for Treatment, Understanding, and Monitoring of Cancer (NANO-TUMOR)


2 MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence



A key nanotechnology objective is to build molecular devices that surpass the function of single molecules.  Ultimately
these enhanced nanodevices would provide modern medicine with
integrated therapeutic and diagnostic function within a single in vivo delivery device.  

Until recently, multi-functional hybrid nanosystems have been studied in vitro, but there have been specific obstacles in moving to animal studies.  The poor stability of nanodevices led to toxicity issues and poor targeting.  The
natural clearing process of the animal’s circulation system limited the
nanodevice circulation time and subsequent effectiveness.      The
recent development of “nano mother ships” that detect and treat cancer
cells in a specific manner utilizes unique hybrid nanodevices.  Conceptually
the hull is composed of modified lipids and cancer related targeting
molecules which provide a stable vehicle for accurate delivery of a
multifunctional payload.  The payload provides
one or more unique methods of imaging the tumor (e.g. quantum dots and
magnetic iron oxide particles) and a toxic drug designed to destroy the
tumor in vivo with minimal effect on the patient (Figure 1, Drawing on Right).  » Continue reading “Nano Mother Ships Designed to Detect and Treat Cancer”

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