May 17, 2008 Carbon-coated nanomagnets may offer a new form of cancer treatment. Research presented at the 103rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) suggests that nanoparticles consisting of metallic iron with a protective carbon coat could serve as a safe and effective hyperthermia agent.
Researchers from Germany have found that In animal models, using heat to selectively kill tumor cells is efficient. Using metallic iron in the nanoparticles (in lieu of iron oxide) would allow heating at greater temperatures; and coating the iron with carbon would prevent the iron from rusting, which can hinder the effectiveness of the therapy.
In order to ensure that the nanoparticles did not harm non-cancerous cells, researchers tested their compatibility with normal tissues. Human PC-3 prostate cells and a non-malignant fibroblast cell line were incubated with the carbon coated nanomagnets and, after the incubation period, the cells did not experience major cytotoxic (cell-destroying) effects. The cell cycle distribution and the apoptosis rate were not impaired by the presence of nanomagnets, reflecting the biocompatible character of these structures.
This breakthrough could provide an effective treatment option for many types of cancer, without the destruction of surrounding cells associated with chemotherapy or invasive surgery.
The fact that the carbon-coating prevented cell destruction during incubation proves that the nanoparticles could potentially serve as safe and effective hyperthermia agents, targeting and destroying cancerous cells. These findings underscore a need for more research regarding the use of nanoparticles as potential cancer treatments.
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- Taylor A, Kraemer K, Hampel S, Fuessel S, Klingeler R, Ritschel M et al: Carbon-coated nanomagnets as potential hyperthermia agents. J Urol, suppl., 2008; 179: 392, abstract 1141. [link]
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