Magnet treatment

This is some real cutting edge research but I’m always interested in seeing what may be coming next to make what we’ve been through look like the Dark ages.

COULD cancer treatments be enhanced by something as simple as a magnet? A promising way to tackle some diseases is to deliver cells with modified genes to diseased tissue. Yet getting enough of the modified cells to the affected area can be tricky.

To solve the problem, Claire Lewis of the University of Sheffield, UK, and colleagues inserted magnetic nanoparticles, as well as cancer-fighting genes, into monocytes, the white blood cells commonly used in gene therapy, and injected them into mice with tumours. A magnet placed above the tumour caused the cancer-fighting monocytes to congregate there (Gene Therapy, DOI: 10.1038/gt.2008.57).

The approach may also be able to help treat deep-seated tumours, using techniques borrowed from MRI machines to guide particles to the target.

26 April 2008

From New Scientist Print Edition.

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