The article Nanoparticles cause cancer cells to die and stop spreading is a fascinating explanation of a very exciting discovery but I got even more out of it. I love it when I take something from an article that wasn’t quite what it intended. What I found was a key insight into circulatory function and how red and white blood cells differ in the way they are transported through the body.
This is critical because we know a lot about blood but mainly that is about red blood cells and plasma. We know something about white blood cells and very little about how they move around the body. Read through this excerpt from the article to see what I mean.
When attempting to develop a treatment for metastases, King faced two problems: targeting moving cancer cells and ensuring cell death could be activated once they were located. To handle both issues, he built fat-based nanoparticles that were one thousand times smaller than a human hair and attached two proteins to them. One is E-selectin, which selectively binds to white blood cells, and the other is TRAIL.
He chose to stick the nanoparticles to white blood cells because it would keep the body from excreting them easily. This means the nanoparticles, made from fat molecules, remain in the blood longer, and thus have a greater chance of bumping into freely moving cancer cells.
There is an added advantage. Red blood cells tend to travel in the centre of a blood vessel and white blood cells stick to the edges.
This is because red blood cells are lower density and can be easily deformed to slide around obstacles. Cancer cells Have a similar density to white blood cells and remain close to the walls, too. As a result, these nanoparticles are more likely to bump into cancer cells and bind their TRAIL receptors.
Did you notice the clear difference in how white blood cells travel through the body and the obvious relationship with damage occurs to the circulatory system in cardiovascular diseases. Damage occurs in the walls of blood vessels. Red blood cells travel through vessels but white blood cells travel by moving along the vessel walls themselves. They stick to the edges.
The implication here is not that the immune system is causing the problem. Though that could be the case. Instead I feel that disease and injury really is the cause of heart disease. The white blood cells may make things worse by being sticky but I have read that sugar harms both blood vessels and the immune system.
It seems pretty clear that vascular disease revolves around fights that break out inside vessels damaging their walls. So I’m just hunting down the parties involved and trying to piece together the events leading up to the fight. For now the evidence is pointing to sugar and fat having a party in the blood network and causing trouble. The white blood cells are closest to hand and try to contain the situation. Cholesterol gets involved because it is the bodies building and haulage system. Cholesterol brings building blocks to make new cells and takes away waste. That’s why it gets the blame. It’s going to be at every site of damage and the worst damage will have the most cholesterol.