How MRI scanners can also help combat cancerous tumours

In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have revealed that MRI scanners can also steer tumor busting viruses to specific target sites within the body.

ANI| Last Updated: Aug 23, 2015, 13:13 PM IST

Washington D.C.: In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have revealed that MRI scanners can also steer tumor busting viruses to specific target sites within the body.

A team led by Munitta Muthana of the University of Sheffield found that MRI scanners could non-invasively steer cells, which had been injected with tiny super-paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs), to both primary and secondary tumour sites within the body.

The new research suggested that MRI scanners were the key to administering treatments directly to both primary and secondary tumours, wherever they were located in the body.

In the study, cancer mouse models injected with immune cells carrying SPIOs and armed with the cancer killing oncolytic virus (OV) which infects and kills cancer cells, showed an 800 per cent increase in the effects of the therapy.

Muthana said that their results suggested that it was possible to use a standard MRI scanner to naturally deliver cell-based therapies to both primary and secondary tumours which would normally be impossible to reach by injection.

He added that this not only increased the therapeutic efficacy but also decreased the risk of unwanted side effects.

The study is published in the Journal Nature Communications.