Nanophysicists offer novel insight into experimental cancer treatment

Jul 15, 2013

Physicists from the University of York have carried out new research into how the heating effect of an experimental cancer treatment works. 

Magnetic hyperthermia is viewed as an attractive approach for the treatment of certain cancers as it has no known side effects compared to more conventional therapies such as chemotherapy. It is particularly suitable for the treatment of and . However, until now there has been no clear theoretical understanding of how it actually works.

Treatment by magnetic hyperthermia involves injecting directly into a tumour then placing the patient in a machine which produces an alternating magnetic field. The nanoparticles oscillate and heat is produced inside the . When the temperature rises above 42ºC cells begin to die. This heating process has been demonstrated to reduce tumour size.

The study, by researchers from the University of York's Department of Physics and Liquids Research Ltd, of Bangor, North Wales, showed that the amount of heat generated by magnetic nanoparticles can be understood when both the physical and hydrodynamic size distributions for the samples are known to high accuracy.

The results of the study are published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics as a fast track communication.

Lead author Dr Gonzalo Vallejo-Fernandez, from York's Department of Physics, said: "While clinical trials have shown the potential of magnetic nanoparticles for , the mechanisms by which the heat is generated have not been fully understood. This understanding is critical to produce particles with optimised properties for specific applications at minimal dose."

Previously the heat generated was impossible to predict as several mechanisms were involved. The new work has identified and quantified the mechanisms so that work can now begin to determine the dosage required for effective treatment.

Dr Vallejo-Fernandez said: "Through our study we have produced the first comprehensive assessment of how the heating effect in magnetic works. We are now in a position where we can do further work to calculate accurately the dose of magnetic nanoparticles and length of treatment required."

For the study, the researchers used magnetic nanoparticles produced by a new technique by Liquids Research Ltd, which was developed under the EU project MULTIFUN (Multifunctional Nanotechnology for Selective Detection and Treatment of Cancer). The nanoparticles are very uniform in size and well separated, which enabled detailed experiments to be performed which broadly confirmed the accuracy of the calculations.

Dr Vijay Patel, Director of Liquids Research Ltd, said: "The development of this new theory coincided with our work on the new process to fabricate the nanoparticles enabling us to 'design' almost ideal particles for this application."

Explore further: Atom-width graphene sensors could provide unprecedented insights into brain structure and function

More information: 'Mechanisms of Hyperthermia in Magnetic Nanoparticles' in the 'Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics' as a fast track communication. iopscience.iop.org/0022-3727/46/31/312001

Related Stories

Nanoparticles for controlled drug release

Jun 13, 2013

Scientists from CIC bioGUNE and the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO) in Bordeaux have jointly undertaken a project to develop "smart" nanoparticles. These polymeric particles act as "nanomissiles" against ...

How many nanoparticles heat the tumor?

Aug 09, 2010

Those who have to fight a powerful enemy must look for allies. This is why physicists from different scientific fields have decided to cooperate with biomedical physicians in order to place the fight against cancer through ...

New product features with metallic nanoparticles

Jun 20, 2013

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing new techniques for the production of metallic nanoparticles. VTT's new production reactor, operating at atmospheric pressure, reduces the production costs of multicomponent ...

Recommended for you

Quantum effects in nanometer-scale metallic structures

13 minutes ago

Plasmonic devices combine the 'super speed' of optics with the 'super small' of microelectronics. These devices exhibit quantum effects and show promise as possible ultrafast circuit elements, but current ...

Research unlocks potential of super-compound

23 minutes ago

Researchers at The University of Western Australia's have discovered that nano-sized fragments of graphene - sheets of pure carbon - can speed up the rate of chemical reactions.

User comments : 0