New technique uses magnetic nanoclusters to kill hard-to-reach tumors

Market Expertz   |     July 03, 2019


A team of scientists at Oregon State University has developed an advanced technique for using magnetic nanoclusters to kill tumors that are difficult to access. Magnetic nanoparticles are tiny pieces of matter that can be as small as one-billionth of a meter. These nanoparticles have shown anti-cancer properties against tumors that can be accessed by a syringe, enabling the particles to be injected straight into the cancer cells. However, for some cancer types like prostate or ovarian cancer, which were a part of the Oregon State research, direct injection of drugs is a challenge. Thus, a ‘systemic’ delivery method, such as an intravenous injection could be far simpler and more effective. The findings of the team have been published in ACS Nano.

The nanoparticles, when injected into the tumor, are exposed to an AMF or alternating magnetic field. The magnetic field causes the nanoparticles to reach the temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, destroying the cancer cells. For this purpose, the researchers needed to find nanoparticles that could accumulate in the tumor cells to allow the AMF to heat up and eradicate the cancer cells. Olena Taratula and Oleh Taratula of the OSU College of Pharmacy resolved their problem by creating nanoclusters, multi-atom collections of nanoparticles with advanced heating capacity. The nanoclusters are iron oxide nanoparticles in a hexagonal shape, doped with manganese and cobalt, and loaded into dissolvable nanocarriers. Olena Taratula, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, explains that the ability of the nanoclusters to reach the required temperature in tumors after an individual, a low dose IV injection can be an indication of the potential role of magnetic hyperthermia in treating cancer, either by itself or in combination with other therapies.

The mouse model in the research involved animals receiving IV nanocluster injections after ovarian tumors were inserted underneath the skin. Taratula adds that to improve this technology, prospective studies will need to use orthotopic animal models, minimize the heating of healthy tissue, and either current AMF systems need to be optimized or new ones need to be developed.

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