A Gold Star for Cancer Research

A Gold Star for Cancer Research

I study cancer research. I have a beautiful lawn outside of my house. But I have nasty weeds all throughout it I have 2 options as a gardener Either I can physically take out the weeds along with the grass around it Or use a pesticide to cover the whole lawn that specifically targets the weeds and kills them while leaving the grass intact Seems like a no brainer Now I want to take these same concepts and use them for cancer therapeutics Current methods of treatment for cancer include chemotherapy which is an irradtiation treatement that targets cancer tumors but also kills all the healthy cells surrounding it Unfortunately what this does is lowers our bodies immune system as well as increases the chance that we have other diseases and infections A more ideal situation would be that we target the cancer cells and leave the healthy cells alright These cancer cells actually have a protein that are overabundant on them that are not overabundant on healthy cells So we can use a DNA drug to target these proteins Unfortunately these DNA drugs disintegrate within the blood stream And they cannot reach their target, which are the cancer cells So in my lab, what we are studying is to protect and stabilize these drugs so that they can reach the target What we use are gold nanostars They are on the order of 50 nano-meters So if you took 2000 of them and lined them up side by side They would only be the width of a human hair That’s incredibly small! But luckily for us Most biological processes happen on the micro or nano meter scale So these gold nanostars can pass through the blood stream and go into the cells with no problem Luckily these gold nanostars are not toxic to the body And we can make them in liter amounts very fast So it is cheap, fast, and can load a lot of drugs So my hope is that in the future chemotherapy will be eliminated and that we can target our cancer cells and leave our immune systems intact. So when you go to the doctor’s office and get diagnosed with cancer It won’t be a death sentence, but rather just a pesky weed to get rid of


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