Personalised treatments for cancer patients can fight the disease more effectively, but finding the best medication can take time. However, a very fast new technique could be able to test multiple treatments inside a patient’s tumour. Medicines are packaged inside nanoparticles called liposomes, and labelled with a 'DNA barcode' to indicate which medication is inside. The whole solution, which could contain several possible treatments, would then be injected into the patient. Shown here is a breast cancer cell, with the DNA barcode for a cancer treatment in green. After a couple of days, a tumour sample is taken and the DNA barcodes read. The number of barcodes for a particular drug that are found in dead tumour cells, as opposed to live ones, gives an idea of how effective the treatment is. This hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but looks very promising.
Written by Esther Redhouse White
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