This news sounds as if it was taken straight out of an Asimov short story, but fortunately it’s true. A while back we covered other amazing news, that of nanoparticles delivering light activated drug to cancer cells, which opens the door into some amazing new cancer treatment territory, that of light-activated drug therapy, but this latest cancer news is truly impressive.
Latest Cancer News – Nanoparticles are Getting Better
A new research conducted by the Lund University in Sweden uses nanoparticles that are controlled by magnets to compel cancer cells to self-destruct. If you think it sounds too good to be true, know that it is not. This latest cancer news means that we’re getting closer to developing a new type of cancer treatment, one that is much gentler and accurate than chemotherapy and radiation.
The best thing about remote-controlled nanoparticles is the fact the scientists managed to target selected cells without damaging the surrounding tissue. Chemotherapy affects healthy cells in the body, thus having serious side-effects; radiotherapy also affects the healthy tissue around the cancerous tumor. This new technique only attacks tumor cells. Right now, there is only one other treatment that does this, the proton therapy, the most advanced cancer treatments available, but remote-controlled nanoparticles could be much more effective.
The researchers have taken nanoparticles of iron oxide and have treated them with a form of magnetism. Once these particles are inside the cancer cells, they are exposed to a magnetic field and the nanoparticles start rotating so that the lysosomes begin destroying the cells. Lysosomes are the units that clean up the cells, which also can perform a process called controlled cell death, where damaged cells self-destroy.
The team at Lund University isn’t the first to use magnetic nanoparticles to destroy cancer cells, but it is the first one to do this without any side effects. Other treatments which involved magnetic nanoparticles heated the tissue around the damaged cells, thus producing inflammation.
While this treatment is primarily intended for cancer, it can be applied in many areas, for example autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
Much more research is yet to be performed, but this latest cancer news is very promising. What are your thoughts on this?