There is no neat, targeted way to treat diabetic retinopathy, a condition that could lead to blindness. Laser therapy can result in diminished side and night vision and the other current method used, the cancer drug docetaxel, clear from the system so quickly that high doses are needed, increasing toxicity to healthy tissue. The research group ANPRON tells us about a team of Canadian scientists who think they have found a solution for sufferers of diabetic retinopathy. They have made a MEMS device (micron-sized electromechanical systems) that could be implanted behind the eye and release docetaxel on command by an external magnet.
People from BioMEMS research group @ University of auckland stated that
Their most recent work (Wlodkowic D, Khoshmanesh K, Sharpe JC, Darzynkiewicz Z, Cooper JM. Apoptosis goes on a chip: advances in the microfluidic analysis of programmed cell death. Anal Chem. 2011 Jun 16. [Epub ahead of print]) provides an innovative summary of the recent advances in miniaturized chip-based devices for the analysis of programmed cell death.it provides future prospects of the Lab-on-a-Chip devices with wide reaching perspectives in anti-cancer drug discovery and high-throughput cell-based screening routines.
Soon, drug delivery that precisely targets cancerous cells without exposing the healthy surrounding tissue to the medication’s toxic effects will no longer be an oncologist’s dream but a medical reality, thanks to the work of Professor Sylvain Martel, Director of the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montréal.
Microcarriers on a mission
The upside of chemotherapy is that it attacks cancer cells and kills them. The downside – and a steep downside it is – is that it is composed of highly toxic compounds that attack other cells of the body, too, resulting in any number of harmful side effects, from anemia to hair loss to nausea and vomiting.
The question concerning researchers is how do we deliver chemotherapy drugs to the harmful cells and leave the healthy cells alone?
Purdue University researchers have reproduced portions of the female breast in a tiny slide-sized model dubbed “breast on-a-chip” that will be used to test nanomedical approaches for the detection and treatment of breast cancer.
The model mimics the branching mammary duct system, where most breast cancers begin, and will serve as an “engineered organ” to study the use of nanoparticles to detect and target tumor cells within the ducts.
Sophie Lelièvre, associate professor of basic medical sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and James Leary, SVM Professor of Nanomedicine and professor of basic medical sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine and professor of biomedical engineering in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, led the team.