Scientists from the University of Surrey have developed a ‘intelligent’ form of nanoparticle that can be heated to a temperature high enough to kill cancerous cells, yet is then able to self-regulate and cool itself so as not to harm any surrounding healthy tissue.
The advanced nanoparticles were created through a partnership between the University of Surrey’s Advanced Sciences department and the Dalian University of Technology in China.
Thermotherapy has long been used as a treatment for cancer, however it comes with the caveat that it can often be difficult to administer without in turn damaging healthy cells nearby.
Dr. Wei Zhang, Associate Professor from Dalian University of Technology said: “Magnetic induced hyperthermia is a traditional route of treating malignant tumours. However, the difficulties in temperature control has significantly restricted its usage.”
It has been found however that if you can regulate the temperature of the nanoparticles exactly 42°C to 45°C they can weaken and then kill cancerous cells without causing any collateral damage.
Working together the teams were able to design and create a nanoparticle that could be heated to a maximum of 45°C at which point it would self-stop heating. In addition to this unique property the nanoparticles also boast a very low toxicity level which means they can then be absorbed without causing permanent damage to the body.
Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, said: “This could potentially be a game changer in the way we treat people who have cancer . If we can keep cancer treatment sat at a temperature level high enough to kill the cancer, while low enough to stop harming healthy tissue, it will prevent some of the serious side effects of vital treatment.