Golden opportunity for Lymphoma patients

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A golden opportunity to help patients fighting Lymphoma.

It’s a type of cancer that arises in the lymph nodes and travels — from the tonsils to the spleen to the bone marrow. Chemotherapy and the drug rituximab are highly effective. But doctors think they can do better.

Dr. Leo Gordon, oncologist, Northwestern Medicine: “All the treatments can be relatively toxic, so we’re looking for new ways to treat lymphomas.”

Dr. Shad Thaxton, Lymphoma Researcher, Northwestern Medicine: “We’re talking about a nanoparticle treatment that may, in fact, be 180 degrees from that.”

Nanoparticles – tiny but promising carriers scientists send into the body on search and destroy missions.

Dr. Thaxton: “Floating around in there are solid gold metal nanoparticles. The gold is exactly like what you would have in a gold ring or jewelry.”

But it’s not the precious metal that makes this vile so precious.

Dr. Thaxton: “The gold itself, we believe, is inert.”

The gold serves no real purpose other than to fill a space normally occupied by cholesterol – a favorite meal of lymphoma cells.

Dr. Thaxton: “So what we’ve developed is a nanoparticle that looks a lot like, on the outside, this natural HDL.”

Built here in Shad Thaxton’s lab – the nanoparticle was disguised to look exactly like HDL cholesterol cells on the outside.

Dr. Thaxton: “Fats, lipids and a protein are the same fats, lipids and proteins on the surface of HDL.”

Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Leo Gordon then put the particle to the test. Not knowing they were part of a bait and switch operation, lymphoma cells gobbled up the gold nanoparticles.

Dr. Thaxton: “By doing that the particle starves the cell of cholesterol and that becomes very toxic. They need that cholesterol to grow, divide and multiply. We’re excited this will be a non-toxic treatment for b-cell lymphoma.”

The researchers are continuing their work on the gold nanoparticle in the lab, and hope to conduct more animal studies, with human trials about two years away.

Listen to the Bair Facts on Health

Get the real facts on everything from diet trends to cutting-edge treatments, brought to you by Dina Bair and actual experts, so you can ignore the noise on social media and make informed decisions about your health.

Subscribe to the podcast

Apple Podcasts

Pocket Casts

Spotify

Stitcher

Popular

Latest News

More News