Friday, February 10, 2012

Scientists use nanotubes to kill breast cancer cells

We've all been touched, in one way or another, by cancer -- with relatives, people we've known or even our own struggles with the disease. 

One of the worst forms is breast cancer.  According to, "about 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime." 

Yesterday, however, we received a little bit of good news: Science Daily published an article showing that inserting a special kind of nanotube into a breast cancer cell and applying heat can kill the cell.  The article can be found here:

Nanotubes are extremely small -- on the order of 1/1000th the width of a human hair; on the scale of molecules.  They are usually made using nanopore templates, similar to the kind we can make using our patent pending technology.  If you picture blades of grass, you get an idea of what these things generally look like -- tiny poles standing on end.

They can be made out of a variety of materials.  So, if a way can be found to attract them to cancer cells, attach them to the cells, then apply heat or a current or whatever is necessary to kill the cell, we'd have an effective cancer fighting tool.

The research here was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (yes, that's right -- the DoD has a breast cancer research program).   Programs like these point out the need for certain kinds of government funding (as opposed to bridges that go nowhere and loan guarantees for companies that go bankrupt).

This research is terrific news, of course, but there is a long way to go in this fight.  We strongly encourage donations and support to worthy cancer charities.  There are many of them out there, but we (i.e., Enable IPC personnel, individually) have supported, and continue to strongly support, the Susan G. Komen Foundation (the recent news and ridiculous politics of late notwithstanding).

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