Vikki Academy | When Nanobots Take on Cancer: an Epic Battle

When nanobots take on cancer

Dr. Avi Schroeder aims at improving patients’ quality of life and bettering their treatment by developing innovative medical technologies.

Specifically, he focuses on targeting metastatic cancer with nanotechnology, and on constructing miniature medical devices that couple diagnosis to therapy (theranostic devices).

 

Cancer rates have been steadily increasing, making it the leading cause of death in the developed world.

 

Cancer treatment is costly both to individuals and to healthcare funds.

 

Despite progress in research and development of new drugs, unbelievably, about half of cancer patients receive the wrong drug.

 

Drugs that are ineffective in fighting cancer weaken the patient and may not bring the best results.

 

However, this can change!

 

Chemical Engineering Prof. Avi Schroeder and his team at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology developed a unique nanotechnology method to explore the efficiency of different drugs before treatment begins.

 

In order to test a person’s response to a medication, drugs need to be tested within the patient’s body, turning it into a small treatment lab.

 

Schroeder creates nanoparticles each marked by a unique barcode that carries a specific medication. These nanoparticles are then injected into the blood and enter the malignant tissue, penetrating it through micro fissures that do not exist in healthy tissue.

 

The nanoparticles then discharge the drug within the tumor cells.

Following that, doctors take a biopsy of the tumor and can see which drug is most effective for treating the patient.

 

This new development allows the drug diagnostic stage to take place within the patient’s own body, rather than on a tissue culture in a lab.

This leads to clinical recommendations based on the patient’s own body – personalized medicine.

 

Such speedy answers may lead to a dramatic improvement in treating these prevalent cancers, saving countless lives – one nanoparticle at a time.

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