Lung Cancer Being Targeted by Nano-Drone Delivered Cannabinoids

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Lung cancer being targeted by nano-drone delivered cannabinoids Alliance for Cancer Nanotechnology proposes nanoparticle drones armed with cannabinoids to fight tumors. Featured image by David Brown.

What if Amazon drones could deliver individual THC molecules directly into your lungs?

It may seem like a stoner fantasy, but a team of researchers in Boston, MA, has suggested that something akin to the retail giant’s aerial package delivery system could improve lung cancer treatment rates, if shrunken down to the nanoscale.

You’ve probably heard of nanotechnology before—the science of creating machines and systems that operate and act on the molecular, and even the atomic level. For perspective, there are one billion nanometers in one meter, and typical nanoparticle machines are less than 100 nanometers in size. One molecule of water (just two atoms of hydrogen and a single atom of oxygen) is roughly a quarter of one nanometer in size.

Some nanotechnologies occur naturally, such as the kevlar-style cross-linked molecules that give silk its strength, while others are created synthetically, such as the coating on airplanes to reduce drag. Earlier this year, results from nanotech tests conducted at Durham University showed high success rates in using nanoparticle machines to attack prostate cancer cells, with the cancer cells being killed within one to three minutes of being punctured by the nano-machines.

Now the team in Boston, led by Wilfred Ngwa, PhD, has published a report proposing that similar nanoparticle drones could be used to target lung cancer cells. These new nanoparticle drones would carry with them payloads of cannabinoids and radiosensitizers (drugs that weaken cancer cells’ resistance to radiation therapies), to be delivered directly to the targeted cells.

Dr. Ngwa is a medical physicist and assistant professor with the departments of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, respectively. His team’s report suggests that gold nanoparticles provide an excellent template for the newly proposed delivery nano-drones.

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