back to article Magnetic medicines hit the cancerous spot

A team of researchers in Australia and Scotland has designed an iron core for the anti-cancer drug Cisplatin, so that it can be dragged by magnets to wherever in your body it can do its best work. The team’s work is detailed in a new paper,Cisplatin drug delivery using gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for enhanced tumour …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great effort, real science!

    But I fear we'll see a surge in woo-merchants peddling their phoney "magnetic therapy" treatments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But I can see this causing havoc going through an airport scanner........

  2. Semaj
    Thumb Up

    Excellent work. Exactly the sort of research that should be getting lots of charity funding as it could work with many (all?) different kinds of cancer.

    In fact - I bet there are lots of other applications for this kind of technique as well.

  3. Richard Scratcher
    Thumb Up

    Dr Magneto will see you now.

    "...Otherwise, a strong magnet could be implanted into a tumour, and draw the drug into the cancer cells that way..."

    Or perhaps a large dose of the chemo drugs could be implanted into a tumour with some sort of slow release mechanism.

    1. amanfromearth

      Re: Dr Magneto will see you now.

      If they can implant the magnet, then they can excise the tumour..

      The problem I see with the scheme is that the particles will be strongly attracted to cluster on the magnet surface, reducing availability at the edges of the tumour. Maybe if they had magnetised particles they could then use an electromagnet and attract/repel with a waveform designed according to the size of the tumour

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Dr Magneto will see you now.

        "If they can implant the magnet, then they can excise the tumour.."

        Not necessarily. Knowing where the central mass of the tumour is does not tell you where it's boundaries are and that is a common problem in surgical removal tumours and because of it surgeons often remove healthy tissue to err on the safe side. Anything that concentrates cancer drugs in tumours is to be welcomed. The future lies not in ever more drugs but in delivery vehicles to target only cancer cells, like this or caged molecules that only release their cargo when they encounter a cancerous cell. Along with relatively mundane changes already in the clinic such as giving chemo at the most effective time of day. As well as genotyping of tumours and liver enzymes so that only those who can benefit are given certain drugs and the dose is more closely tuned to your metabolism. These measures are already saving lives.

        1. Chemist

          Re: Dr Magneto will see you now.

          A similar kind of approach has been used with antibodies to tumours with attached 'lethal' payloads. It's more specific and can 'auto-locate' all the tumour cells - but it's very expensive to generate the pure antibody and attach the payload. This approach looks a lot cheaper ( I wish) and even if not as specific might be a lot better than conventional treatment with cytotoxic agents.

      2. Richard Boyce

        Re: Dr Magneto will see you now.

        You increase the dose to the point where even tissue at the edge of the tumour is being affected. Plus, as the tumour shrinks, the edge of the tumour will approach the magnet.

  4. Crisp

    That is frigging genius!

    I'd always thought that some of the worlds major problems could be solved with magnets.

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I heard another magnetic tumour killer on Radio 4 last year. I think it was Edinburgh Uni doing this one, and it was for brain tumours that can't be operated on.

    You attached iron particles to some delivery mechanism that heads for the tumour. Either an antibody or something else. They all gather in the tumour. Then you bung their head in a giant electro-magnet. Whizz, round and round the particles go. The friction cooks the tumour from the inside. And then it either dies off, or is more susceptible to radiotherapy/drugs.

    Interestingly another effect was that the iron stays in place. So if the tumour comes back, you've already got your cooker in place, so you just bung the patient back in the magnet, rinse and repeat.

    Cancer's such a complicated thing, that I doubt there's going to be a cure turning up any time soon. Btu there are so many advances in treatment, and understanding, going on in so many parallel fields, that treatment is going to keep improving for a long while.

  6. Mike Holden 1

    Superb scientific diagram...

    Great story and all that, but that diagram - really necessary??

    I think most of us would understand the concept of magnetic attraction without the 1970's horseshoe magnet with wavy lines of force!! :-)

  7. skeptical i
    Paris Hilton

    Impacts on MRI's?

    Q: So, can the patient ever have an MRI again after introducing ferric compounds into the body? I'd ass+u+me "yes, with some precautions/ safeguards in place", but I ain't a docta' .

    Re: "superb diagram" (Mike Holden 1): it appears that this spiffy graphic was part of the submitted paper, so perhaps /that/ intended audience might have been perceived as unclear on the concept ("Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physicist/ engineer/ magnet guy").

    1. sueme2

      Re: Impacts on MRI's?

      IF the patient lives, there will not be enough iron to matter, it will be bound to tissue or excreted. The patient has to live for this MRI to work. Chemo does induce fatalities along the way. ( read all small print on chemo before opening bottle )

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life saving magnets? Am I the only one thinking of Tony Stark/ Iron Man right now?

    Seriously, though- well done researchers!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They have been working of this process for awhile

    It's great to see they are close to making this process work.

    Good job people !

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021