We have found an effective way of containing and then delivering this highly potent element directly into cancer cells, said study senior author David A. Scheinberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of MSKCCs Leukemia Service and head of the Laboratory of Hematopoietic Cancer Immunochemistry at the Sloan-Kettering Institute.
The investigators tested the nanogenerators in cell culture in a variety of human cancer cell types: leukemia, lymphoma, breast, ovarian, neuroblastoma, and prostate. They found the nanogenerators could kill all these types of cancer cells at extremely low concentrations.
Dr. Scheinberg and colleagues also tested the treatment in two mouse models, one for prostate cancer and one for disseminated (widespread) lymphoma. Many of the animals had long-term survival, and all of them had their lives extended after a single treatment at a low dose. In addition, many of the mice with prostate cancer had their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels decrease to zero and most others had PSA levels that were reduced. PSA levels are a common measure of the presence of prostate cancer in humans.
The atom contained inside the nanogenerator is actinium-225.
Actinium decays by giving off short-lived, high-energy alpha particles that blast through cancer cells and destroy
their DNA and proteins. When actinium decays, it produces a series of three daughter atoms each of which gives
Contact: Christine Hickey
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center