Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Microscopic "nanobees" that literally sting tumours to death have been successfully used to fight cancer.
Researchers in the US unleashed swarms of the tiny artificial particles on human breast and skin tumors in mice.
Each spherical "nanobee", measuring just three millionths of an inch across, was armed with a cancer-killing toxin found in bee venom.
Targeting cancer but not healthy cells, the nanobees delivered a lethal "sting".
The bee toxin, melittin, destroys cells by drilling holes through them.
After four to five injections of melittin-carrying nanobees over several days, the growth of breast cancer tumours in the mice was slowed by nearly 25%.
Melanoma - or skin cancer - tumours shrank in size by 88%.