Heated nanoparticles awaken the immune response to attack cancer

Nanoparticles, far too small to be seen by the naked eye, have been the subjects of lots of research recently. Their potential uses in medical treatments, particularly against cancer, are receiving a lot of attention. This is mainly because, even with their tiny minute nanoscopic size, they can be used as a vessel to deliver anti-cancer therapies into the human body.

In a recent study by a team of scientists from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, nanoparticles were used in combination with heat to kill cancer. Heat-treatment of cancer has been practised as long ago as the ancient Egyptian era, however, the innovation came when this ancient knowledge was combined with the use of nanoparticles to specifically target cancer cells.

The nanoparticles were engineered to be recognised by certain types of cancer cells.
The nanoparticles were engineered to be recognised by certain types of cancer cells.

Nanoparticles containing iron, silver, or gold were engineered to be recognised and selectively absorbed by certain types of cancer cells. Afterwards, the nanoparticle is heated using magnetic energy, infrared light or radio waves. Excitingly, not only the heated cancer cells were killed, but when a specific temperature of 43 oC was used, this process also switched on the immune response to kill distant cancer cells that had not been treated with heat.

Compared to conventional therapies for cancer which include chemotherapy or surgery, this approach could minimise damage to healthy tissues while maximising the destruction of cancer cells.  In addition, the effect of switching on immune system to target distant cancer cells could be very useful for treating metastatic cancer, which currently is terminal for the majority of cancer patients. The research is now in clinical trials and a range of variables will be explored to achieve the most effective way to treat cancer with this method.

DOI: 10.1002/WNAN.1274

Written by Arporn (Koi) Wangwiwatsin.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s