Nanoparticles ‘could target cancers in bone tissue’

3 July 2014

An experimental treatment that uses nanoparticles could be used to target cancer cells within bones, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team discovered that when the microscopic balls were designed to target bones they were able to slow the growth of tumours in mice.

Although more investigation is needed, the scientists believe the findings suggest this approach would be suitable in the treatment of myeloma, as well as breast, prostate and lung cancers - as these can often spread to bones.

Dr Irene Ghobrial, co-author of the study, said the results symbolises a “proof of concept”. 

"This work will pave the way for the development of innovative clinical trials in patients with myeloma to prevent progression from early precursor stages or in patients with breast, prostate or lung cancer who are at high risk to develop bone metastasis," she added.

In order to deliver the anti-cancer drugs directly to bone tissue, the research team developed nanoparticles that were attracted to calcium. To achieve this, the microscopic balls were coated in alendronate, which binds to the element.

Using mice models, scientists were able to demonstrate that the nanoparticles could find and target the cancer. The treatment slowed the growth of tumours, while also strengthening the bone. 

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)