Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or more chemical substances to kill cancerous cells. It can be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments, or given alone. But as there are over 100 different chemotherapy drugs, our ability to prescribe the most effective drug to treat a particular tumour can be difficult.
The device, which is about the same size as a grain of rice, is not swallowed or injected, but instead is implanted directly into a cancerous tumour, where it can directly administer small doses of up to 30 different drugs.
Today, I want to highlight a different approach; the use of implants as drug delivery devices. Implants offer several advantages over pills or injections, but often result in immune responses that hinder their performance.
A group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), in Bangalore, India, have developed a biodegradable polymer that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and allows better acceptance of bio medical implants in the human body.
Bob Langer’s achievement demonstrates the importance of chemical engineering on a truly global scale. His pioneering work in drug delivery, tissue engineering and nanotechnology has touched the lives of billions of people.
He has developed a field that, quite simply, didn’t previously exist. This highlights the most important role that chemical engineers play in society today – improving quality of life for all.
In some countries, chemical engineers don’t receive the respect they deserve.
Our contribution is hidden from the public as companies don’t want people to think about the ‘chemicals’ in their products.
I discussed the perception that anything natural is good and anything man-made is bad in my blog ‘Can you lead a chemical-free life?’, which demonstrates that this is not the case.
The US gets a lot of bad press about the public perceptions of science and engineering, but one thing they are getting right is the respect that seems to be increasing for chemical engineers working in the cosmetics industry.
The company has such a strong technological reputation that actress Jennifer Aniston (who I am told is famous for her hair?!) was not only was willing to advertise their products but also invested in the company as a co-owner.
Living Proof is now launching its first skin product – Neotensil – spearhead by another MIT chemical engineering alumnus Dr Betty Yu.
Neotensil uses polymer technology to compress and flatten eye bags.
Recently I wrote about twins who were creating a better mechanism to release cancer-fighting drugs and about researchers using epigenetics to identify the best treatments for cancers.
Now I have more good news about chemical engineers working to combat lung cancer.
Researchers at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have successfully used RNA therapies to shrink and slow the growth of lung cancer tumours.