Using nanotechnology to improve a cancer treatment

Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers have devised a method that may allow clinicians to use higher doses of a powerful chemotherapy drug that has been limited because it is toxic not only to tumors but to patients’ kidneys.The research, conducted in laboratory animals, marries chemistry and nanotechnology to deliver toxic platinum atoms to tumors while almost entirely blocking the platinum from accumulating in the kidney, according to Shiladitya Sengupta, a Harvard assistant professor of medicine and health sciences and technology whose Laboratory for Nanomedicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted the work.Sengupta has focused his research for three years on cisplatin, a powerful anti-cancer drug used in first-line chemotherapy. Sengupta said the drug, discovered about 40 years ago, has many positive aspects. It is relatively inexpensive and effective against many cancers. Its toxicity, however, limits its use.“Even if you can see amazing results as an anti-tumor therapy, you can’t give more,” Sengupta said.Despite several attempts, cisplatin hasn’t been improved upon, Sengupta said. Two similar drugs that also incorporate platinum are on the market, but while they are less toxic to the kidney, they are also less active against tumors.Though the chemistry involved is complex, the key to cisplatin’s effectiveness — and its toxicity — lies in how easily it releases platinum, both at the tumor site and, undesirably, in the kidneys.Manufacturers of the two alternative drugs have reduced those drugs’ toxicity by making them hold onto their platinum more tightly. Sengupta’s work took a different track, however. Understanding that particles greater than five nanometers in size would not be absorbed by the kidney, he set out to engineer a super-sized cisplatin.Understanding the chemical properties of the cisplatin molecule and the laws that govern molecular folding, his team designed a polymer that would bind to cisplatin, much as a thread runs through a bead’s central hole. By stringing together enough cisplatin, the whole molecule wrapped itself into a ball, 100 nanometers in size, too large to enter the kidney.It took a couple of tries to get the molecular design right, Sengupta said. Though the initial design proved nontoxic to kidneys, it wasn’t as effective as the original cisplatin. Sengupta and colleagues tweaked the chemical formula so the molecule didn’t hold quite so tightly to the platinum atoms.Studies conducted by Basar Bilgicer, assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, showed that the molecule accumulated in tumor tissue, whose leaky blood vessels allowed it to pass out of the capillaries that feed the tumor. The molecule is too large to pass into other tissues, such as the kidney, lungs, liver, and spleen. Once lodged in the tumor, the higher acidity there caused the molecule to fall apart, dumping its toxic load on the cancerous tissue.“It showed absolutely minimal toxicity to the kidney,” Sengupta said.The new compound has been found to be effective against lung and breast cancers. Instructor in pathology Daniela Dinulescu at Brigham and Women’s Hospital also demonstrated that the nano-compound outperformed cisplatin in a transgenic ovarian cancer model that mimics the disease in humans.The research, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department’s Breast Cancer Research Program, has not been tried in humans, and would require potentially lengthy testing before being ready for patient care.Described in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the project also included researchers at the University of Notre Dame, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India, and the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in New Delhi.Sengupta praised the work and creativity of fellows Abhimanyu Paraskar and Shivani Soni on the project. read more

Unraveling a brutal custom

first_imgGasps echoed through the Radcliffe gymnasium on Wednesday as audience members reacted to the image of a woman’s foot, projected on a large screen at the front of the hall.It was a foot in name only. The misshapen mass looked more like a hoof bisected by a crack. The deformity was the result of foot binding, a common practice in much of China until the middle of the last century that involved wrapping the foot of a young girl or woman tightly with a cloth to stunt its growth, explained Laurel Bossen, the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.That particular type of bound foot was called “the three-inch golden lotus,” said Bossen. “That’s the ideal. It gradually broke the girl’s arch … you can see that the arch is just a crevasse on that foot.”While at Harvard, Bossen and Melissa Brown, Radcliffe’s Frieda L. Miller Fellow, in collaboration with anthropologist Hill Gates, are writing a book on female labor and foot binding in early 20th century China. Their research is based in part on large-scale surveys in the 1990s done by Gates, and on their own interviews from the past few years with thousands of elderly women from 11 provinces in rural China.Their findings dispel several “origin myths” and mistaken assumptions associated with the brutal custom.The scholars reject the prevailing theories that bound feet in China were considered more beautiful, a means of male control over women, a sign of class status, and a chance for women to marry well. They also reject the widespread notion that such women couldn’t work, and thus contributed little to their families and the larger economy, and the belief that campaigns against the practice were what ultimately put an end to it.Instead, their research suggests that the practice was directly linked to the use of young girls and women in the hand-labor force, and that its disappearance coincided with the arrival in China of the Industrial Revolution.When they asked women during interviews why they thought their feet were bound, many responded that they were expected to “marry up economically,” said Brown, a researcher at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota who is interested in historical processes of transformative social and cultural change.But she questioned the notion that bound feet were considered more alluring to men and that they could lead to a better marriage, because men weren’t picking their own brides. Their mothers were.“Why in the world would a mother want to pick a sexy daughter-in-law?”While the women surveyed thought foot binding would lead to a good marriage, the numbers didn’t add up. After a detailed analysis, the researchers found no overall statistically significant data to support the theory that women with bound feet were in more prosperous households after marriage as compared with their birth households.“What we found, in fact, is that there is not a link,” said Brown, adding, “The majority show no marital mobility.”So why were the feet of 7-year-old girls bound so often if the end result had no impact on their ability to marry above their class?The answer involves a financial reality.“For me, the question about foot binding has always been ‘How could rural families afford to lose women’s labor’ ”? said Bossen, anthropology professor emerita at McGill University. “What work could they do when they had bound feet?”Bossen said the research points to a clear connection between foot binding and hand labor. Mothers needed their daughters’ help to produce both cloth for the family and extra cloth for sale. They needed to keep their “willful, playful” young daughters at their sides, she said, to have them learn how to spin, wind, twist, and weave fibers they could sell when the crops failed or fell short at harvest.“For girls who are doing handwork for income, the odds are 4.5 to 1 that they will be bound,” said Bossen of the studies they conducted in China’s Yunnan Province.“Foot binding can be seen as a way of tying them down, and training them in the handwork, supervising them, and keeping them close at hand. It’s not the only way, but I would argue it became part of the cultural repertory.”And as the value of women’s hand labor decreased, so did foot binding.The eventual arrival of the Industrial Revolution had a dramatic impact on women’s work, as cotton yarn began to be imported and factories eventually replaced the work women did by hand. Citing research that spanned the 1920s to the 1940s, the researchers found that the likelihood that a woman doing commercial handwork would also have bound feet dropped drastically.The link between commercial handwork and foot binding is “highly statistically significant,” said Bossen. The arrival of cheaper machines made textiles “undercut income from hand labor and caused foot binding rates to plummet.”last_img read more

UEFA Champions League returns with 11 top-tier matches in two weeks

first_imgRelatedPosts NBC Code and non-exclusivity provision, by Kunle Osisanya-Afolabi Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv can enjoy the return of the UEFA Champions League, with the competition resuming from August 7, 2020 and cramming a total of 11 top-tier matches into just over two weeks to provide a true feast of football at the end of the 2019-20 season.World events saw the Champions League suspended back in March, with only half of the last 16 ties having been completed. The return of football across Europe has enabled UEFA to lay out a plan to complete the tournament – albeit in a reduced format.The competition will resume on August 7 and 8 with the second legs of the incomplete last 16 ties.This sees Manchester City host Real Madrid with a 2-1 lead; Bayern Munich hold a 3-0 advantage ahead of welcoming Chelsea to the Allianz Arena; Juventus will be looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit at home to Olympique Lyon; and Barcelona will host Napoli, with the tie locked at 1-1.The four aggregate winners will then join already-qualified RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinals.From this stage of the competition, all ties will be decided in a single-game knockout (ditching the traditional two-legged format) and all matches will be played in Lisbon, Portugal – either at Estadio da Luz (the home of Benfica) or Estadio Jose Alvalade (the home of Sporting Clube de Portugal). The quarterfinals will be played from August 12 to 15, semifinals on August 18 and 19, while the final will be staged at Estadio da Luz on August 23.A draw has already been conducted, laying out teams’ potential paths to glory.The top half of the draw sees RB Leipzig face Atletico Madrid in one quarterfinal, and the winner will meet either Atalanta or Paris Saint-Germain in the semis.The bottom half of the draw has paired together the winners of the Man City v Real Madrid tie with either Lyon or Juventus, while the winners of the Barcelona v Napoli tie will likely come up against Bayern Munich, who will be confident of progressing beyond Chelsea, thanks to their 3-0 win in the first leg in London way back in February.Don’t miss the conclusion of the 2019-20 football season on DStv and GOtv. Visit and to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now. Tags: DSTVGoTVSupersportUEFA Champions Leaguelast_img read more

Curry, James lead fan voting for NBA All-Star game

first_imgCurrent NBA players and a panel of basketball media make up the rest of the ballot, each accounting for 25 percent of the voting, which concludes on Monday.In the second wave of fan returns, James polled 1,622,838 votes to edge ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (1,480,954) in the Eastern Conference and overall. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkJames and Antetokounmpo are followed in the East frontcourt by the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (784,287) and the New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis (640,928). The Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving is third in the conference and overall with 1,370,643 votes.In the Western Conference, Curry has amassed 1,369,658 votes, taking him clear of teammate Kevin Durant with 1,326,059. The Houston Rockets’ James Harden has 978,540 votes and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook 791,332. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson MOST READ Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Under a revamped All-Star Game format, the two captains this year will choose their rosters from the pool of players voted in as starters and reserves.The players polling the most outright votes in each conference will be selected as captains.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew View commentscenter_img Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Celtics overcome 22-point deficit to beat 76ers in London Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pause on the court during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTOCleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors playmaker Stephen Curry are on course to be chosen as conference captains for next month’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, voting results showed Thursday.James and Curry lead the latest fan voting which accounts for 50 percent of the ballot to determine the 10 starters for the All-Star Game on February 18 at the Staples Center.ADVERTISEMENT Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Conelast_img read more