Recently, scientists from Wuhan University have found the ink of the cuttlefish to have a therapeutic effect. The black ink was found to strongly inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors in the mice models. The ink was found to consist of nanoparticles including melanin, amino acids, metals, monosaccharides, and other compounds. The nanoparticles were found to alter the immune function in tumors, and when amalgamated with irradiation it could completely inhibit tumor growth. Researchers Xian-Zheng Zhang, Pang-Hu Zhou, and colleagues found the ability of nanoparticles in the ink of cuttlefish to inhibit tumor growth.
The idea of achieving tumor immunotherapy and photothermal therapy through natural nanoparticles helps pave a new way for medical applications using natural materials. The body’s immune system is activated to fight cancer. The white blood cells are used to act on the macrophages, M1 or M2, found in the tumors. Researchers are working on creating antibodies or measly molecules that can transform M2 macrophages to M1 macrophages in the tumors. The designing of photothermal agents have proved beneficial as along with irradiation the cancer cells could be destroyed through thermal ablation. The cost has forced researchers to look for natural alternatives.
The researchers found irradiating the nanoparticles with near-infrared irradiation to help destroy 90% of the tumor growth and proved the ability of the cuttlefish ink nanoparticles. The natural materials that have anti-cancer properties are still being looked for by many researchers in order to inhibit tumor growth completely. Just like the cuttlefish research, the UC Irvine pharmaceutical researchers have created and tested a novel noninvasive method that uses tailored stem cells to target and destroys bone cancer in mice models. The bone marrow stem cells were engineered with targeting agents so as to identify metastatic sites in the cancer patients. This new therapy can help prevent cancer from spreading and completely destroy it.