Chemists from Kazan and Novosibirsk have created a new type of nanoparticles capable of “highlighting” even the smallest and inconspicuous cancer tumors without causing harm to the body, according to an article published in the New Journal of Chemistry . This is told by RIA Novosti .
“To date, there are only a few analogues of our nanoparticles with similar functional characteristics.” Of course, it is still difficult to say which of the developed drugs will be used in medical practice, so the result is only the first step along the way, “said Asiya Mustafina from the Institute organic and physical chemistry KSC RAS in Kazan, whose words are quoted by the press service of the Russian Science Foundation.
Cancer tumors, as scientists say, can be found in the human body at the earliest stages of development, and in several ways. For example, physicians can detect their traces of specific molecules that cancer cells secrete in human blood, or with the help of magnetic resonance imaging and other types of functional diagnostics.
How do doctors do this? Usually cancerous tumors differ in density, biological activity, temperature and other parameters from all healthy tissues of the body, which makes it possible to find even the smallest foci of cancer if they stand out strongly against the background of other parts of the body in MRI photographs.
For this reason, scientists are now actively developing special substances, so-called contrast agents, which penetrate cancer tumors, accumulate there and “highlight” them during the diagnostic session. Such a capability is not possessed by all elements and molecules, because of which the search for an ideal “highlight” for cancer continues to this day.
Mustafina and her colleagues took a big step in this direction, creating nanoparticles from gadolinium metal, whose compounds are now widely used in the diagnosis of cancer using MRI. Pure gadolinium is a fairly toxic material for humans and other animals, which is why scientists have to invent various methods of “packing” the ions of this metal, many of which significantly reduce the effectiveness of its work.
Most of these problems, as scientists say, can be avoided by packing gadolinium in chemically inert and safe for the body nanoparticles that can penetrate and accumulate inside tumors.
According to Kazan chemists, the particles they developed have a record contrasting effect, exceeding the strength of the best modern gadolinium preparations by about 15-20 times, while they are much more stable than them. All this allows reducing the dose of the contrast agent approximately 20 times during the diagnosis, which should positively affect the patient’s health.
As the scientists hope, their nanoparticles, developed with the support of the Russian Science Foundation, will soon find their application in scientific and medical practice after their safety for the organism is confirmed in the course of clinical trials.
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