Researchers use nanoparticles, magnetic current to damage cancerous cells in mice
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Using nanoparticles and alternating magnetic fields, University of Georgia scientists have found that head and neck cancerous tumor cells in mice can be killed in half an hour without harming healthy cells. The findings, published recently in the journal Theranostics, mark the first time to the researchers' knowledge this cancer type has been treated using magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle-induced hyperthermia, or above-normal body temperatures, in laboratory mice. For the experiment, researchers injected a tiny amount -- a tenth of a teaspoon, or 0.5 milliliter -- of nanoparticle solution directly into the tumor site. With the mouse relaxed under anesthesia, they placed the animal in a plastic tube wrapped with a wire coil that generated magnetic fields that alternated directions 100,000 times each second. The magnetic fields produced by the wire coil heated only the concentrated nanoparticles within the cancerous tumor and left the surrounding healthy cells and tissue unharmed.