OSU vs. Cancer: New Nanotech Improves Odds

SciShort_12_17_15OSU is always hard at work innovating new concepts. One that they’re particularly adept at is making things really small and then finding a way to get under your skin with them. Now before you all race to say, “Like my bank account?” let me just stop you and shake my head slowly and sternly at you to let you know if that was a good joke or not. No, in this instance, OSU is rolling out a new nanotechnology to fight cancer and it could be game changing.

New findings published in The Journal of Controlled Release by OSU researchers show that a nano-technological process they’ve developed to deliver cancer drugs to the lymphatic system is remarkable at fighting the feared disease. The technology was supported by an OSU startup fund and has already achieved a provisional patent. The process is best for treating melanoma, which can be a particularly terrible form of cancer.

“Melanoma can be a very difficult cancer to treat because it often metastasizes and travels through the lymphatic system,” said Adam Alani in a press release. Alani is an OSU professor in the College of Pharmacy, and lead author of the study. He continued, “Melanoma has a high mortality rate because the lymph nodes tend to act as a haven for cancer cells, and allow them to resist treatment through chemotherapy.”

Alani and his peers, including scientists from Kingston University (London) and Pacific University (Hilsboro, OR), were able to put three cancer drugs together into their teeny tiny delivery system and send them directly to the lymph nodes where their powers combined in a positively Captain Planetian show of synergy to defeat the cancer. Since upwards of 80% of melanomas (skin cancers) metastasize through the lymphatic system, this is a game changer. It’s also a huge improvement over the one-at-a-time approach for current treatments that allows the system to create resistance to individual treatments.

No word yet on how OSU plans to spend the roughly gajillion dollars they stand to make from this drug, but something tells me the football team won’t need to be jealous of the attention Phil Knight gives U of O for much longer.

By Sidney Reilly