With the predictability of cancer at a standstill,
the development of nanoparticle research might just
serve this disease a less than favorable future.
By. Ryan Dhillon. “Yes, my breasts are fake, my real ones tried to kill me.”
Quotes like this are formulated by those lucky enough to overcome the wrath of one of
mankindʼs greatest threats to human life: cancer. Unfortunately, few ever have the
chance to articulate such a response.
Causing thousands of deaths each year, cancer has lingered within genetic lineage and
held health hostage for generations. A mercurial condition, even radiation, cancerʼs
main form of treatment, can prove just as detrimental to longevity of life.
It appears however, although studies remain at an early stage, that the battle against
cancer has received a valuable asset of attrition through the research of nanoparticles.
Led by Dr. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist, research of nanoparticles has
accelerated dramatically over the past year and a half and is providing hope for medical
intervention towards cancer.
“What we are trying to do is change medicine from reactive
and transactional to proactive and preventative.” Conrad stated in an interview with
BBC. He also added that, “Nanoparticles… give you the ability to explore the body at a
molecular and cellular level.”
In recent history, Cancer has been treated after the illnesshas persisted within a patients’ body for an extended period of time, therefore facilitating
the diseaseʼs growth, strength and immunity to bodily antibody reactions. With the
inclusion of nanoparticles, treatment will gain a head start to the spread of cancer cells
as they will act proactively to retrieve valuable data pertaining to the location of cancer
cells within the body and their proximity to major organs. Thereafter, doctors will be
afforded the luxury of treating these cells before they can gain a more enduring
A nanoparticle is used as a molecular explorer, a cellular spy; inspecting minute areas
of the body otherwise thought to be of good health, all the while collecting invaluable,
expansive data from each area of the body through which it passes. The retrieval of this
data could potentially be used to allow scientists to not only treat harmful cancerous
cells, but also study the early presence of these cells in order to develop a perceptive
understanding of their traits in their early stages.
Suffice it to say, this will allow a bevy
of individuals who contain cancerous cells to be treated before any form of cancer takes
permanent residence. For context, this means that a 20-year-old could have the
opportunity to discover whether there are cancerous cells within his or her body and
subsequently receive medical intervention to eliminate the existence of the disease. For
many, this may be the difference between having to receive radiation or radiating good
Ryan Dhillon is a UFV student in Professor Eric Spalding’s Media and Communications class.