Scientists are developing a new offensive tactic against cancer — killing the bad cells with magnets?
There's a problem with a lot of cancer treatment — often methods like chemo can't tell which cells are bad and which ones are healthy, so the good ones are taken out too. But South Korean researchers might have found a solution. They were able to murder the menacing cells in live zebrafish and lab cancer cells by sending a magnetic death ray to the cancer. Phys.org explains what happens when these iron oxide nanoparticles latch onto antibodies:
When a magnetic field is introduced, the nanoparticles bunch up or cluster, which triggers a natural response called a death signal. When that happens, apoptosis (aka, programmed cell death) occurs, causing destruction of the tumour.
Essentially, these magnets cause a switch to flip, signaling to the cell that it's time to die. It could be more effective since it allows those healthy cells to continue to live. But the process actually caused some of the fish to grow an abnormal tail, which means that crucial leap to human trials might be very far off. [Nature via Phys.Org via The Verge]
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