April 4, 2014

Health

Breakthrough in high-temperature cancer treatment

Researchers have found injecting iron particles into cancer tumors and using a magnet to move them, heats the tumor and is an effective cancer treatment.

By Emilie Croisier
Doctor

As reported in the April issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, high fevers and medically induced hyperthermia have been linked with cancer remission for decades. Now a new study by researchers at Dartmouth provides even more evidence for how heat therapy works, while also proposing a new therapy that could make it even more effective.

Researchers at Dartmouth University injected iron nanoparticles into tumors growing in mice and then used a magnetic field to generate heat from the iron. This nanotechnology strategy allowed them to maintain a constant temperature of 109.4°F (43°C), which was critical to the response that followed. Heating colon and melanoma tumors caused them to grow more slowly or even disappear. Although higher temperatures were even more effective at stopping tumor growth, at 109.4°F, an immune response was triggered that made the mice resistant to the cancer.

When they were injected with the same type of cancer cells a month after the heat treatment, they didn’t develop any new tumors. Since it is nearly impossible for a surgeon, chemotherapy drug or radiation to remove or kill every single cancer cell in the body, activating this immune response could be very helpful for protecting cancer patients from recurrence and enhancing the effects of other treatments.

(Source: Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2014.01.011.)

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