Nanoparticle drones: 4G technology to kill cancer cells with minimal collateral damage

Radiotherapy is used in the treatment of over 50% of cancer patients. In 1953, Mole described a powerful effect called the abscopal effect, whereby radiotherapy at one site zaps/kills the cancer cells in that site but also ‘magically’ kills deadly cancer cells that had spread metastasized. Recent studies indicate that such magical killing happens because the dying zapped tumor cells at the local site serve as a vaccine. However, the abscopal effect is rare because the tumor can suppress the action of the ‘vaccine’. This lecture will highlight the development of fourth generation (4G) radiotherapy biomaterials, aka, nanoparticle drones that could overcome this suppression to significantly enhance the treatment of metastasis with minimal side effects or collateral damage. Metastasis accounts for over 90% of all cancer associated suffering and death; hence the impact of these drones in cancer treatment will be significant, increasing survival and quality of life of cancer patients. The technology is also uniquely designed such that the drones can be deployed to kill the cancer cells at virtually no additional inconvenience to patients.

drngwaWilfred Ngwa, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School and a Medical Physicist of Radiation Oncology at Brigham And Women’s Hospital.  His work integrates research, clinical service, and teaching in Radiation Oncology, with a t focus on Cancer Nanomedicine. He is also co-director of Global Health Catalyst: a transformative initiative employing advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to catalyze high impact international collaborations in Radiation Oncology, cancer prevention and advocacy towards elimination of global cancer disparities.