MICHEL FORTIER / ROB ENGELHARDT/Erie Times-News
Sanibel Island inventor and cancer patient John Kanzius demonstrates his cancer-fighting machine. Watch video.
They've demonstrated the cancer research "holy grail."
In a manuscript published today, researchers say they have successfully targeted and killed two of the most deadly types of cancer cells, colon and pancreatic, using the treatment invented by Sanibel Island and Erie, Pa. resident John Kanzius.
"This is what everybody's been waiting for," Kanzius said. "Can you target cancer cells? And the answer is 'yes.' Can you kill them? Yes. Can you target specific cancers? Yes."
Though the researchers said the destroyed cancer cells were not in animals or humans, the findings published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology have shown once again that a man with no formal medical training -- and who continues his own battle with a rare form of B-cell leukemia -- can develop a treatment capable of killing cancer.
The treatment Kanzius first envisioned in 2003 is hoped to one day go like this:
- A patient will be injected with a solution of small pieces of metal known as nanoparticles, which are attached to lab-created, disease-fighting antibody cells capable of targeting specific cancers.
- The gold nanoparticles, which are so small 75,000 to 100,000 of them can fit across the tip of a human hair, will run through the body, the antibodies attached to them hunting for the specific cancer cells being targeted. Once they find the cancer cells, they burrow inside.
- The patient is then exposed to low-frequency radio waves emitted from the transmitter Kanzius' first designed in the garage of his Sanibel Island home. Somewhat like metal in a microwave, which uses frequencies a million times more powerful to vibrate molecules generating heat, the nanoparticles will heat up, killing the cancer cells, but leaving adjacent cells unharmed.
The researchers working with Kanzius have already demonstrated they can kill cancer cells in laboratory animals using the nanoparticles and radio transmitter while leaving adjacent cells unharmed. Those findings were published Oct. 2007. But those experiments had the nanoparticles injected directly into tumors, not targeted to specific cancer cells -- an accomplishment that has baffled cancer researchers for years.
Lead researcher Dr. Steven Curley, a professor of surgical oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, rated No. 1 in cancer treatment by U.S. News and World Report for four of the past six years, told supporters in a letter earlier this month that targeting nanoparticles to specific types of cancers has been accomplished.
"This will be the first manuscript that proves that we can target nanoparticles to a specific abnormality on cancer cells, and increase the killing by getting more nanoparticles into the cells," Curley said.
In the letter, Curley indicated talks with the Food and Drug and Administration are expected to begin soon, possibly within the next few months. When they do, the treatment will be one step closer to human trials, which may occur in months or years.
Also in the coming months, further manuscripts demonstrating the effectiveness in treating leukemia are expected to be released, the letter from Curley said.
Stay tuned to naplesnews.com for additional information on this developing story. In the meantime, examine the Daily News' article and video released in June detailing Kanzius' development of the treatment.