UK Scientists Mobilize Gold Nanotubes in Fight Against Mesothelioma

The United Kingdom loses a greater percentage of its population to malignant mesothelioma than any other country, due in large part to asbestos use during the massive rebuilding required after World War II. Accordingly, the country’s scientists work tirelessly to find a cure for the rare asbestos-related disease. This morning researchers published a report detailing their efforts at killing the cancer with the help of tiny, golden nanotubes.

Gold Nanotubes Kill Mesothelioma from the Inside

The mesothelioma researchers revealed their news in the most recent issue of the journal Small. Hailing from the University of Leeds and the University of Cambridge, they worked collaboratively to develop hollow cylinders made of gold, 1/1000th the width of a human hair, that can be activated through light to kill mesothelioma cells from the inside.

The innovation comes after the University of Cambridge was granted 10 million pounds from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to use engineering to address mesothelioma and other hard-to-find cancers. 

Innovation Can Improve Upon Current Mesothelioma Treatments

Dr. Arsalan Azad of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research was one of the group that created the gold nanotubes, and he explains, “Mesothelioma is one of the ‘hard-to-treat’ cancers, and the best we can offer people with existing treatments is a few months of extra survival. There’s an important unmet need for new, effective treatments.”

The nanotubes devised by the group can be tailored to a specific size, structure and composition, as well as being able to absorb specific types of light. When they are absorbed by mesothelioma cells they head straight towards the nucleus, where scientists can then aim lasers at them, allowing them to heat up and kill the cell from within while leaving healthy cells undamaged.

State-of-the-art approaches like these may make an enormous difference in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. For information on the cancer centers offering innovative treatments, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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