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Translational Medicine Roundup

April 20, 2012

A microscopic capsule delivers chemotherapy drugs to tumor cells without damaging healthy cells.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Tiny particles that pack a punch. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Doctors have no shortage of compounds that kill cancer cells. The problem is that they’re also toxic to healthy tissue. Now scientists report in the journal Science Translational Medicine that they have developed a kind of microscopic capsule, or nanoparticle, that releases anticancer drugs into tumors, but not into healthy cells. If they prove safe and effective in humans, the nanoparticles will allow doctors to safely prescribe higher doses of chemotherapy medicine with fewer side effects.

And, in the same journal, scientists report new findings on Parkinson’s Disease patients who have gotten fetal stem cell therapy to boost levels of dopamine in their brains. They report that the therapy relieved motor symptoms, like tremors and difficulty walking. But the patients still need additional therapy for other symptoms, like anxiety and insomnia, which were unaffected by the boosted levels of dopamine. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.