Franklin College researchers have used nanoparticles and alternating magnetic current to kill cancer cells in mice without harming healthy cells:
The findings, published recently in the journal Theranostics, mark the first time to the researchers' knowledge this cancer type has been treated using magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle-induced hyperthermia, or above-normal body temperatures, in laboratory mice.
"We show that we can use a small concentration of nanoparticles to kill the cancer cells," said Qun Zhao, lead author and assistant professor of physics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Researchers found that the treatment easily destroyed the cells of cancerous tumors that were composed entirely of a type of tissue that covers the surface of a body, which is also known as epithelium.
Several researchers around the globe are exploring the use of heated nanoparticles as a potential cancer treatment. Previous studies also have shown that high temperatures created by combining magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with strong alternating magnetic currents can create enough heat to kill tumor cells. Zhao said he is optimistic about his findings, but explained that future studies will need to include larger animals before a human clinical trial could be considered.
Zhao and colleagues are working in the hybrid sphere of theranostics, a blend marshalling the forces diagnosis and therapeutics in a single step. He briefly explains this new work in the video below.
Image: Germanium-catalyzed Zinc Oxide nanowire forest created by Zhengwei pan, University of Georgia