With a nearly $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Michigan State University researchers are using nanoscopic particles to turn the body’s own cells into weapons that cancer won’t see coming.
“We are developing a precision, ‘Trojan Horse’ nanotherapy that treats breast cancer without the typical side effects,” said Bryan Smith, an associate professor in MSU’s Biomedical Engineering Department. Smith is also the director of the Translational NanoImmunoEngineering, or T-NIE, Lab, located at the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering.
Neuroblastoma is a rare form of tumor that develops in immature nerve cells, called neuroblasts, found near the kidneys. Thus, children are the most susceptible to developing them, with neuroblastoma representing 7 to 10 percent of pediatric cancers.
The treatments are much like any other cancer. Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can help shrink and kill neuroblastoma cells. But these treatments are harsh for adults; for children they can be their own kind of illness.
African American and Hispanic children admitted to pediatric intensive care units for cancer treatment have significantly higher death rates than do Caucasian patients, a study led by two Michigan State University and Spectrum Health researchers found.
Nationwide, 8.5% of African American and 8.1% of Hispanic children with cancer died after admission to pediatric intensive care units, compared with 6.3% of non-Hispanic Caucasian children.