Now, a `magnetic solution` to treat tumours

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 00:00

Jerusalem: In what may revolutionise cancer
treatment, an Israeli scientist claimed to have devised a new
technique that can destroy tumours with fewer side effects.

The new cancer-killing therapy, being developed by
Professor Israel Gannot of Tel Aviv University`s Department of
Biomedical Engineering, uses magnetically heated
nano-particles to target and broil individual cancer cells.

The innovative method, to be published in the journal
Nanomedicine, can help kill the tumour cells leaving the
surrounding healthy tissues intact unlike the common radiation
therapy that often harms healthy tissues while trying to kill
malignant cells.

Using specific biomarkers attached to individual
tumours, Prof Gannot`s special mixture of nano-particles and
antibodies locates and binds to the tumour itself, the
university said in a release.

"Once the nano-particles bind to the tumour, we excite
them with an external magnetic field, and they begin to heat
very specifically and locally," said Prof Gannot.

The magnetic field is manipulated to create a targeted
rise in temperature, and it is this directed heat elevation
which kills the tumours, he said.

The treatment has been proven effective against
epithelial cancers, which can develop in almost any area of
the body, such as the breast or lung.

By using a special feedback process, also developed in
his laboratory, the process can be optimised for individual
treatment, the scientist claimed.

The specialised cocktail of nano-particles and
antibodies is administered safely and simply, through topical
local injection or injection into the blood stream. As an
added benefit, the mixture washes out of the body without
leaving a trace, minimising side effects, he stated.

The nano-particles themselves are already FDA-approved,
and according to Prof Gannot, the method is effective almost
any type of tumour, as long as its specific markers and its
antibodies can be identified.

If clinical trials are successful, the technique may
become a mainstay of patient care, the university said.

In addition to being minimally invasive, this treatment
boasts sheer speed. It can be applied during an out-patient
procedure -- the entire technique lasts only six hours --
which allows patients to recuperate in the comfort of their
own homes.

Prof Gannot is currently applying his technique to cell
lines and to ex vivo tissues and tissue-like substitutes in
his lab, and plans to start in vivo experiments by next year,
the university added.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 00:00

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