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Enhancing Cancer Treatments with Algae

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

While radiation and chemotherapy treatments are designed to kill cancer cells, the treatments are also known to damage surrounding healthy cells and tissue. However, through ongoing research, scientists are working to develop chemotherapy delivery methods that might produce the desired effect without the current health risks. The latest breakthrough comes in the form of nanotechnology and algae, and Palm Desert Home Care Assistance can explain how this might work.

Researchers from Australia, Germany and the United States pack genetically modified algae with chemotherapy medications and inject them into the bloodstream. The modified algae are designed to bind only with antibodies that are commonly found on malignant growths associated with cancer. As the alga dissolves naturally, the tumor cells are then exposed to the medication of choice, which leaves surrounding healthy cells unharmed and intact. Some tests also revealed that the algae could be stimulated to heat up to further affect the tumors.

When the new chemotherapy delivery system was applied in trials using laboratory mice, the tumors began decreasing in size. The technique was then used on samples of human tissue containing malignancies, and the treatment effectively killed approximately 90 percent of the cancer cells.

Diatom algae became the medium of choice as the organism’s features and exterior skeleton are made of silica and water. The single-celled microbes are biodegradable and not toxic to people or the environment. Once the algae make contact with malignant cells, they merely disappear without causing any harm.

Originally, researchers explored the possibility of using carbon-based graphite nanoparticles and industrial chemicals. However, using artificial treatments soon proved costly as treatments could cost patients hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to the cost, the techniques and chemicals used would also inflict toxic effects on those undergoing the treatment.

The algae studies are considered innovative and could very well revolutionize cancer therapy. In this way, people with cancer would no longer have to endure the same degree of unfavorable side effects often associated with typical chemotherapy, which would hasten the recovery process.

While researchers continue to learn more about the administration of cancer treatments with algae, seniors with cancer can rest comfortably knowing there is help out there. Home Care Assistance is a trusted provider of both live-in and hourly home care in Palm Desert, CA. Our caregivers are highly trained to help senior citizens day or night, whether they need transportation to treatment centers, emotional support, or help with household chores and errands. Call a friendly Care Manager today at (760) 345-0001 to learn more about how we can help your senior loved one, and schedule a free in-home consultation.