Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Organelles Could Fight Cancer, Even Lactose Intolerance

Fighting cancer is the priority, but a technique pioneered in the lab by Swiss researchers could have profound implications for every aspect of the human body.

According to Tasmin Osbourne of New Scientist magazine, organelles are compartments inside of cells that carry out specialized metabolic functions. Think of them as handy little bags of enzymes, the proteins that make reactions happen inside the body. Now think of carrying your own plastic bags full of the right enzymes and depositing them just where they are needed, right down at the cellular level.

Such a technique would be great for delivering enzymes that become active only when next to - or even inside - a cancer cell, allowing direct targeting of these cells, destroying them without affecting any other non-cancerous cell.

And they would also work to carry enzymes to any part of the body that currently lacks the proper enzymes to work. Example: the microvilli on the insides of the small intestines where the lactase enzyme is made. That means people who are lactose intolerant and no longer make lactase could have bundles implanted in them, a far superior procedure to swallowing a lactase pill and hoping that the lactase gets to where it needs to be.

After that, the sky's the limit. How about photosynthetic skin so you could get energy directly from the sun, like a plant?

Obviously, all this is many, many years or decades away, assuming it ever makes it out of the lab. Still, a fascinating bit of research that is one of the best examples of nanotechnology that I've seen.

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