I know I harp on and on about the brilliant advances that simple problem solving can lead to, but here’s yet another example (taken from this article at Science Daily).
One of the major problems with cancer treatment is that the medicines are not targeted. You expose someone to chemotherapy, their entire body is exposed. The drugs are intended for the destruction of fast growing cancer cells, but as this link from the National Cancer Institute tells us, they can also affect normal, healthy, happy cells that have the misfortune of growing quickly.
Some researchers at Purdue have the answer. Their idea? Aim the cancer at the cells it needs and not at the others. But how do you do that?
The researchers looked at prostate cancer specifically, and created a molecule that attaches to PSMA, the prostate-specific membrane antigen. This molecule delivers the medicine directly, and as it only attaches to cells with this antigen, it rules out a host of side effects.
Obviously, there’s more to the story and we’re a long way from this being an FDA approved method, but the concept amazes me.
Read the article. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be smiling when you’re done.