Nanotubes for Cancer Therapy and Diagnostics

Technology Overview

This technology is a method for using boron nitride (BN) nanotubes for cancer therapy, especially boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). It enables a higher concentration of boron to be targeted to tumor cells via attachment to functional antibody molecules. These functional antibody molecules are tumorspecific and bind specifically to the tumor cells. In addition, the technology could also be utilized for targeting carbon nanotubes ( CNTs) with killing mechanisms different from BNCT.

BNCT, an experimental approach to cancer therapy, is a two step process in which boron-containing compounds are localized to a tumor. The tumor is targeted with a beam of low energy neutrons. When the boron atoms, which are now in high concentration within the tumor, capture the neutrons, they split into two highly charged particles that release energy only over a very short distance. This results in a preferential kill of tumor cells over normal cells that surround the tumor.

Potential Benefits

  • More effective – higher concentration of boron atoms can be attached to functional targeting molecule such as a specific antibody
  • Adaptable – technology may be adapted for use with other nanostructures such as CNTs for targeting cells for killing with radioisotopes such as radioactive iodine
  • Improved performance – The various nanostructures can be encapsulated within a biopolymer that may reduce toxicity or enhance its biological activity

Potential Applications

  • Cancer therapy for solid tumors including lung, prostate, and breast
  • May have applications for other non-cancer therapies in which there is a need to specifically kill a particular cell and spare other surrounding cell types (ablation)
  • May be used as a diagnostic tracer to localize the target cells prior to or after therapy
  • May be used for nanovessels, single walled CNTs encapsulating drugs, which can be attached to antibodies and delivered to tumor cells where ultrasound waves can explode the nanovessels and release encapsulated drugs

Keywords: boron nitride nanotubes, cancer therapy, nanovessels, tumor ablation, diagnostics

Inventors: Richard Beger, Alexandru S. Biris, Dan A. Buzatu, Jerry A. Darsey, Tom Heinze, Dwight Miller, Jon G. Wilkes