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Kim BrownKim Brown is the AAPS communications and social media manager in the Public Outreach Department.

As is well known, cancer is a major public health problem worldwide. Most cancers are recognized primarily due to symptoms or specific medical tests to a definitive diagnostic. There are different therapy options available, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care. Due to cancer heterogeneity and development of multi-drug resistance, chemotherapy may not be effective for every patient. For example, anticancer drugs often have a short half-life time into the body and, sometimes, their efficacy is compromised by adverse effects. The drugs cause damage not only in cancer, but also in surrounding tissues. Doc1

Sílvia Coelho and a team of researchers from the University of Porto, the University of Nebraska, and Oslo University are working to develop nanosystems based in gold nanoparticles to be tested as combined strategies for cancer therapy. These small structures show no toxic leeway to the human body and can be combined with anticancer drugs.

The team’s first achievements have paved the way for a better understanding of the mechanism uptake of gold nanoparticles by cancer cells, which now induces a synergistic activity of the anticancer drug and gold nanoparticles at very low concentrations. The approach can be fine-tuned for therapeutic drugs to minimize their side effects and overcome multi-drug resistance.

Learn more about the research that Coelho and her team are presenting today at 1:30 p.m. PDT, by viewing their abstract, no. T2021, in the 2013 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference MyAgenda Planner.