Researchers at the University of Surrey and Dalian University of Technology in China have created a form of nanoparticle that can heat up and kill cancerous cells and then self-regulate to avoid burning healthy cells. The particles can raise their temperature between 42°C to 45°C, hot enough to kill cancer cells. Once they reach a set temperature they back off, ensuring that healthy cells are spared.
“The Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles produced for this study are self-regulating, meaning that they self-stop heating when they reach temperatures over 45°C. Importantly, the nanoparticles are also low in toxicity and are unlikely to cause permanent damage to the body,” wrote the researchers in a release.
“This could potentially be a game changer in the way we treat people who have cancer. If we can keep cancer treatment set at a temperature level high enough to kill the cancer, while low enough to stop harming healthy tissue, it will prevent some of the serious side effects of vital treatment,” said Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey.
In magnetic-induced hyperthermia a magnetically active chemical into a tumor. The magnetism is converted to heat which essentially burns out the tumor but can also affect other parts of the body. This system controls the temperature automatically, reducing the need for external temperature management.