Spanish scientists have found an alternative way to treat bladder cancer: details

Spanish scientists have found an alternative way to treat bladder cancer: details

Scientists tested a new way to treat bladder cancer using nanoparticles on mice. The effectiveness of this method has not yet been tested on humans.

The results of the research by scientists from the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), CIC biomaGUNE in collaboration with the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) have been published in the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Scientists have established that nanoparticles, which have been developed for seven years, are able to reach the tumor and destroy it with the help of a radioisotope, writes Eurek Alert.


Bladder cancer is treated by direct injection of drugs, but this is not very effective, because in order for the drug to reach all the walls of the organ, the patient must change his body position every hour. In order to increase the therapeutic effectiveness of treatment, researchers are looking for a solution to this problem.

Nanorobots are spherical structures with a diameter of 450 nanometers, containing an artificial radioactive isotope of iodine – iodine-131. It is used to destroy cancer cells of some tumors. The surface of the nanoparticles is covered with various components, including gold and urease molecules, an enzyme that breaks down urea.

Test results show that nanoparticles can travel through the body, reach the bladder and even penetrate a tumor.

“The optical system we developed made it possible to eliminate the light reflected by the tumor, which allowed us to identify and localize the nanoparticles in the organ without prior labeling.

We observed that the nanorobots not only reached the tumor, but penetrated it, and thus enhanced the effect of the radiopharmaceutical.” – explains Julien Colombelli, head of the Advanced Digital Microscopy platform at the Institute for Biomedical Research in Barcelona.

Finding out why nanoparticles can penetrate a tumor was problematic, because they lack specific antibodies to recognize a tumor, and tumor tissue is usually tougher than healthy tissue.


The scientists concluded that the nanorobots collided with the urothelium as with a wall, but in the tumor, which is spongy, they penetrated and accumulated inside.

The study still needs to be refined and to investigate whether relapses are possible after treatment. However, the researchers note that they managed to achieve significant success.

“With a single dose given to experimental mice, the tumor shrank by 90%. This is significantly more effective, considering that patients with bladder cancer usually have to go to the hospital frequently for therapy. This approach to treatment will increase efficiency, reduce hospitalization time and costs for treatment” – said Samuel Sánchez, professor of ICREA at IBEC and head of the study.

We will remind you that we previously wrote about what it is like to live and fight cancer, as well as what needs to be done for a full recovery.

Vira Shurmakevich, “UP. Life”

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