Tuesday, May 12, 2009

US Patent 7530940 - Nanoparticle enhanced radiation therapy


This patent from a company called NanoProbes appears fundamental to the treatment of tumors using metallic (e.g. gold) nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of enhancing the effects of radiation directed to a tissue or a population of cells in an animal comprising:

administering an amount of metal nanoparticles to said animal and subsequently irradiating the animal with radiation directed to said tissue or said population of cells,

wherein said radiation is in a form selected from the group consisting of x-rays, microbeam arrays of x-rays, radioisotopes, electrons, protons, ion beams, and neutrons,

wherein said metal nanoparticles are administered to said animal in an amount to achieve a concentration in said tissue or said population of cells in the animal of at least about 0.1% metal by weight.

However, one patent which appears to have been overlooked during the Examination is US 6,530,944 from Rice University the abstract of which reads:

This invention is generally in the field of improved methods for the localized delivery of heat and the localized imaging of biological materials. The delivery may be in vitro or in vivo and is useful for the localized treatment of cancer, inflammation or other disorders involving overproliferation of tissue. The method is also useful for diagnostic imaging. The method involves localized induction of hyperthermia in a cell or tissue by delivering nanoparticles to said cell or tissue and exposing the nanoparticles to an excitation source under conditions wherein they emit heat.