Patents awarded for new nanoparticle activated by x-ray, ultrasound to kill cancer

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) was awarded U.S. and international patents on a new nanoparticle that can be activated by x-ray or ultrasound and kill multiple cancers without harming healthy surrounding tissues.

"This new nanoparticle material has many properties that improve upon traditional photodynamic cancer therapies, where light is used to activate a particle that kills cancer cells," said UTA professor and inventor Wei Chen, PhD, in a prepared statement.

The primary advantage of the nanoparticle—known as copper-cysteamine or Cu-Cy—Cu-Cy is that healthy cells are not affected by treatment; whereas traditional therapy may eventually cause cell death. Other advantages include usability as an imaging agent and as a cancer treatment, lowered manufacturing costs and treatment of multiple cancers.

"The material provides an excellent solution to the issue of how to penetrate cancer tumors found at different levels in the body—light is effective for skin cancers and cancers near the skin surface, microwaves for cancers between 5-7 centimeters below skin level, X-rays for deeper cancers and ultrasound for cancers between 15-25 centimeters below the skin surface," Chen said in the same statement.