Promising New Cancer Treatment

Photo: Cervical cancer cells

Nanoparticles against cancer cells -
the new method killed 98 percent
of cervical cancer cells in the study;
© NCI Visuals Online

A team of scientists has developed what promises to be a non-invasive method of eradicating cancer cells while reducing the life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. The team successfully killed more than 98 percent of the cervical cancer cells used in the study.

The technique introduces nano-sized cobalt particles encased in graphitic carbon layers inside the cells and thermally activates them by using radio frequency radiation. By applying low radio frequency radiation – used in some electronic or electromagnetic devices – the magnetic portion in the nanoparticles heats up the cancerous cells, destroying them.

"We have demonstrated that using a combination of a low frequency, low power radio frequency radiation – which has a high penetration ability in human tissue – with graphitic-magnetic composite nanoparticles could prove an excellent means of raising the temperature at the cellular level above the threshold required for DNA fragmentation or protein denaturation,” lead researcher Alexandru Biris said. “The result is death of the cells. This technique is less invasive and possesses higher efficiency for targeting localised cells. It also has the potential to reduce the side effects associated with traditional cancer therapies.”

Biris said the delivery of the encased nanoparticle to tumours will also be explored by binding them to cancer-specific antibodies. By using antibodies or other nanoparticle bioconjugations – the coupling of two substances – the nanoparticles are expected to find the cancer cells even in advanced cases, including places that before now have been considered inoperable. The nanoparticles can also find undiagnosed micrometastasis, or the spread of cancer cells from the primary site with the secondary tumours too small to be detected clinically.; Source: University of Arkansas at Little Rock