Magnetic, rotating nanoparticles cause cancer cells to destruct

2014 Research


The future of cancer treatment could have arrived according to Swedish Scientists from Lund University, who have used magnetically controlled ‘rotating’ nanoparticles to force tumour cells to ‘self-destruct’. 


“The clever thing about the technique is that we can target selected cells without harming surrounding tissue. There are many ways to kill cells, but this method is contained and remote-controlled”, said Professor Erik Renström. 


Such targeting means damage to healthy cells is zero. 


“Chemotherapy can also affect healthy cells in the body, and it therefore has serious side-effects. Radiotherapy can also affect healthy tissue around the tumour. Our technique, on the other hand, is able to attack only the tumour cells”, said Enming Zhang, one of the first authors of the study. 


The researchers used nanoparticles of iron oxide that were treated with a special form of magnetism. Once the particles were inside the cancer cells, they naturally bonded to lysosomes which normally ‘clean’ your cells for you. By providing a magnetic field the nanoparticles begin to rotate in such a way that the lysosomes start to destroy the cancer cells. 


Although the Lund University team is not the first to try and treat cancer using supermagnetic nanoparticles, previous attempts were focused on generating heat as a way of causing cancer cell death – but this can sometimes cause healthy tissue damage. 


The Lund University idea uses a magnetic field to only destroy the cells the nano-particles have entered. 


The ‘superparamagnetic nanoparticles’ have attracted a lot of interest from academia and industry in recent years and the team at Lund University have a patent pending for their technique with the rotating nanoparticles.
 

As usual (and sadly) there is ‘a lot of work needed before human clinical trials start.  

ED: Now, whatever happened to the Karolinska localized hyperthermia clinical trials showing women could have breast cancer treatment in their lunch hours??!
2014 Research
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