Hope in a Nanomedicine

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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Nov. 23 front-page story "EPA to Regulate Nanoproducts Sold as Germ-Killing" said that "nanoparticles of gold can burn up bacteria and other living cells." That is misleading.

Nanoparticles of gold, otherwise known as colloidal gold, have been used safely in medicine, with oversight by the Food and Drug Administration, since the 1930s to treat rheumatoid arthritis. More recently, my company, CytImmune Sciences Inc., has worked to create a pipeline of nanomedicine candidates based on nanoparticles of gold designed to deliver potent but toxic anticancer agents directly to tumors, avoiding uptake by healthy organs and tissues.

Based on extensive preclinical scientific studies, the FDA has allowed testing of our colloidal gold-based drug in a Phase I human clinical trial. This clinical trial is ongoing at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda.

To suggest that nanoparticles of gold have biologically toxic effects, similar to nanoparticles of silver, could severely hurt the real scientific progress being made in the development of nanomedicines that hold promise for improving cancer patients' outcomes. The anticipated benefits far outweigh any risks involved.

Unfortunately, this article fueled fear of nanotechnology-based products. Not all nanoparticle technologies are the same, so it's critical to make distinctions when discussing them.

LAWRENCE TAMARKIN

President and Chief Executive

CytImmune Sciences Inc.

Rockville


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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