New Self-Regulating Nanoparticles Heat Up to Kill Cancerous Cells

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 12:09

Researchers from University of Surrey have developed 'intelligent' nanoparticles which heat up to a temperature high enough to kill cancerous cells.

The self-stopping nanoparticles could soon be used as part of hyperthermic-thermotherapy to treat patients with cancer, according to an exciting new study reported in Nano scale.

Thermotherapy has long been used as a treatment method for cancer, but it is difficult to treat patients without damaging healthy cells. However, tumor cells can be weakened or killed without affecting normal tissue if temperatures can be controlled accurately within a range of 42°C to 45°C, Science Daily reports.

Scientists from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute have worked with colleagues from the Dalian University of Technology in China to create nanoparticles which, when implanted and used in a thermotherapy session, can induce temperatures of up to 45°C.

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.

Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, said: "This could potentially be a game changer in the way we treat people who have cancer. If we can keep cancer treatment sat 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.

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