Revolutionary ‘weapon’ against cancer
October 8, 2012
A revolutionary new weapon in the fight against cancer causes ‘self-destruction’ of the tumors.
South Korean scientists have developed the method, ‘using a magnetic field to activate and damage cells to kill themselves’.
The researchers showed that: “the process worked with live fish which had bowel cancer cells’.
Now they will try to test the technique on a wide range of cancers to see if they can destroy other tumors.
Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, as it is known, is one of the ways the body to get rid of old and defective cells or infected.
In response to certain cellular signals are reduced and break into fragments.
But with cancer, this cell death process often fails, so the cells can keep dividing uncontrollably.
The new magnetic therapy involves creating small iron nanoparticles attached to antibodies – proteins produced by the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances.
These iron nanoparticles then bind to the molecules on tumor cells.
When the magnetic field is applied, the molecules are grouped automatically triggering death.
The process raises hopes of new treatments that could kill specific tumor cells resistant to the normal process of cell death.
Research in South Korea exposed bowel cancer cells to nanoparticles and them placed between two magnets.
Over half of the exposed cells were destroyed by magnetic activation, whereas untreated cells were unaffected.
The research was published in the journal Nature Materials.
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