Washington, Nov 24 (ANI): Scientists have developed a promising new cancer treatment called Magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) that essentially "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," said engineering graduate student Monrudee Liangruksa of Virginia Tech.
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 and the most biocompatible agents are magnetite and maghemite. Iron-platinum is toxic and vulnerable to oxidation," she said.
The findings were presented at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Long Beach, CA. (ANI)