Researchers continue to look for new ways to treat mesothelioma. While most current treatments focus on slowing the disease and improving victims’ quality of life, scientists continue to hunt for a cure.
One team recently announced a promising breakthrough that makes use of gold nanotubes. Early tests proved their nanotubes could target and destroy mesothelioma cells in the laboratory. The next step is to adapt their work for human use.
How do the nanotubes work?
As their name suggests, the gold nanotubes are tiny, subcellular tubes only one-thousandth the width of a human hair. The scientists designed them to enter mesothelioma cells and heat up when they receive laser light.
As the research team wrote in its findings, the primary challenge was to tailor their tubes to the right:
- Wall thickness
- Level of light absorption
Once the team found the right way to engineer these nanotubes, their lab results showed great promise. Mesothelioma cells “ate” nearby nanotubes, absorbing them and then transporting them near the cells’ DNA. When the researchers targeted the nanotubes with laser light, the tubes overheated and killed the cells.
The team is currently working to engineer the tubes so that the mesothelioma cells will eat them but that healthy cells won’t be so inclined to absorb them. When they manage this feat, the team believes their gold nanotubes could allow physicians to fry tumors without damaging the healthy tissue nearby.
What does this mean for people diagnosed with mesothelioma?
Doctors can already choose from a variety of treatment options. These include other photodynamic therapies that use light to trigger photosensitive drugs. Yet, just as every treatment has its benefits, it also comes with its limits and risks.
If the researchers can ready their nanotubes for human use, doctors will have one more tool to customize their treatment plans. If they can better tailor their treatment, victims should enjoy better responses.
How can mesothelioma victims take advantage of cutting-edge treatments?
Everyone with cancer wants to get the best possible treatment. However, only some people can try the most advanced or promising experimental options. Victims interested in these options often need to meet certain health thresholds. Plus, these newer treatments can be costly.
People interested in these options likely want to discuss them with both their doctor and attorney. The right treatment often depends on an individual’s health and financial situation.