YOUR HEALTH: The smallest big cancer breakthrough

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania – After years of animal testing, researchers at Penn State have developed a therapy to treat some of the most resistant cancers without damaging any healthy cells, and that treatment is now in the early stages of testing on humans.

James and Bernadette Adair are both scientists and researchers at Penn State University.  Married 27 years, they've loved doing everything together, except battling cancer.

Bernie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

"We were still dealing with me when Jim was diagnosed," she explained.

Doctors found Jim's colon cancer in 2008.   Both were treated, and are now cancer-free.

Ironically, even before his or his wife's diagnosis, James had been working to develop a new treatment for cancer through nanotechnology; manipulating cells at the molecular level.

It's called ceramide nanoliposome.

"It was, at that time, an experimental chemotherapeutic that had unique properties," said Dr. Adair, a Biomedical Engineer at the university.

The ceramide nanoliposome is infused into the body.  Because of the tiny size and structure, the nanoparticles travel easily through the body and can slip into tumors; killing the deadly cells and leaving healthy cells intact.

Jim formed a separate company, Keystone Nano, to continue the research; especially for cancers that have few other effective treatments, like liver cancer.

"The animal models have shown great efficacy against that cancer," said Keystone Nano's chief executive officer Jeff Davidson.

"Kill the cancer, do no harm to the patient," explained Dr. Adair.  "To someone like me who is a cancer survivor.   That's awesome."

A development that's a decade too late for Jim and Bernie Adair, but may help countless cancer patients live full lives down the road.

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  A new treatment is now in early phases of testing; Ceramide NanoLiposomes are targeted to treat more resistant cancers without damaging any healthy cells in the process. Made up of lipids, most of which occur naturally in the body, they are stable in the blood and circulate well. These NanoLiposomes easily enter tumor cells to deliver ingredients that destroy cancer cells. You can load both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds into these NanoLiposomes, and actives are stored within its core to prevent degradation during circulation throughout the body. They are stable during circulation and release payloads intracellularly following membrane fusion. They can be targeted through size and surface charge, or a wide range of targeting materials can be attached to the surface.  (Source: http://www.keystonenano.com/platform/liposomes)

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.