November 29, 2010

“˜Hot’ Nanoparticles Kill Cancer?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) is a promising new cancer treatment that basically "fries" cells inside tumors.

The procedure has been used successfully in prostate, liver, and breast tumors. Magnetic nanoparticles (each billionths of a meter in size) are injected into the body intravenously and diffuse selectively into cancerous tissues. Add a high-frequency magnetic field, and the particles heat up, raising the temperature of the tumor cells.

"The entire tumor volume is heated above a threshold treatment temperature -- typically 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) -- for generally 30 minutes," engineering graduate student Monrudee Liangruksa of Virginia Tech. was quoted as saying.

As a result, when the nanoparticles are heated, cancer cells die with no adverse effects to the surrounding healthy tissue.

To further perfect the technique, Liangruksa and her colleagues explored the effects of different types of magnetic nanoparticles. The most promising varieties, they found, were iron"“platinum, magnetite, and maghemite, all of which generate therapeutically useful heating. "However, we wish to use MFH in humans," she says, and "the most biocompatible agents are magnetite and maghemite. Iron"“platinum is toxic and vulnerable to oxidation."

SOURCRE: The 63rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society held in Long Beach, Calif. On November 23, 2010