Research by the scientists from Penn State College of Medicine brought to light that injecting ceramide into the blood stream it is possible to target and kill breast cancer cells.
Ceramide is a natural substance that accumulates in the cancer cells and thus may be used to get better results out of breast cancer treatments. Researchers had used their techniques on mice for successful results.
However injecting ceramide in the usual way into the blood stream can have severe toxic results. Scientists, to overcome this, have used nanotechnology to create capsules of ceramides called liposomes. Such a way makes it easy for the capsules to move in the blood stream and release the ceramides in the tumor cells. This happens as ceramides are, by nature still unknown to scientists, attracted to tumor cells.
The liposome-encased ceramides reaches the tumor cells via the bloodstream. Then it enters the tumor cells through the vasculature, and disrupts the mitochondria of the cells. In mice these bundles of ceramide targets and destroys only breast cancer cells, leaving the surrounding cells healthy and functional.
The results of the study came up in the new issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
Reference: Penn State University, Press Release, May 2005