13.12.2017 change 13.12.2017

Cancer cells destroyed with nanoparticles - a project of scientists from Łódź

Scientists from Łódź have developed a method of thermal destruction of metastatic cancer cells with nanoparticles. The beauty of this method lies in the fact that only degenerated cells are destroyed - said co-author of the solution Prof. Zbigniew Kołaciński from the Institute of Mechatronics and Information Systems at Lodz University of Technology.

When using this method, the nanotubes that flow in the bloodstream find a tumour containing degenerated cells and attach to them. Irradiation of the tissue with an electromagnetic wave causes the heating of cancer cells above the temperature of their apoptosis, causing necrosis, or cell death - told PAP co-author of the solution Prof. Zbigniew Kołaciński from the Institute of Mechatronics and Information Systems at Lodz University of Technology.

The development of the method of destroying metastatic colon cancer cells with the use of nanoparticles is the result of a project sponsored by the National Centre for Research and Development, carried out at Lodz University of Technology with the participation of the Medical University of Lodz and the company AMEPOX.

Professor Kołaciński emhasised that scientists specialising in nanotechnology address the imperfections of current methods of cancer treatment - surgical treatment, in the case of which patients report to the doctor too late, which is why it is often only palliative and analgesic treatment, as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which is unfortunately also destroy healthy cells.

"Scientists who deal with nanotechnology want to introduce nanoparticles as a method to eliminate cancer cells. These nanoparticles must be containers that carry drugs or other elements that can destroy cancer cells" - explained Prof. Kołaciński.

Researchers at Lodz University of Technology have developed a method for obtaining such nanocontainers by means of carbon nanotubes synthesis with various methods: arc, microwave plasma and chemical vapour deposition. The nanotubes contain a ferromagnetic such as iron, which can then be heated with an electromagnetic wave.

"If we introduce such a container into the body and attach it to cancer cells, it will act as a micro-heating source that will destroy these cells. It is a total destruction, because if the temperature of the cancer cell exceeds 42 degrees C, its necrosis occurs" - emphasised Prof. Kołaciński.

Dead cancer cells are excreted from the body, and healthy cells remain alive. "The beauty of this method is that we only destroy degenerated cells" - said the scientist.

The researchers from Łódź have developed a method of addressing carbon nanotubes as containers to cancer cells by means of specific ligands attached to folic acid that have the ability to locate cancer cells. Such containers can be injected into the body, administered through the skin or in the form of a tablet. Researchers also developed a device for hyperthermia, or cell heating with an electromagnetic wave.

Nanocontainers run in the bloodstream and find diseased cells. The thermoablation process is initiated, i.e. heating with an electromagnetic field. "Affected cells are irradiated with a high-frequency electromagnetic wave that heats iron in the process of hyperthermia that destroys cancer cells" - the researcher added.

For this purpose, the researchers use radio frequency generators in the range from a few hundred kHz to several dozen mHz. "We have developed a device for hyperthermia, or cell heating with an electromagnetic wave, which together with the solution that addresses containers to cancer cells form a system that only eliminates degenerated cells" - emphasised Prof. Kołaciński.

The method of researchers from Lodz University of Technology has been tested on colon cancer cells. Animal tests and clinical tests are also required. In the final phase of the clinical implementation of the project scientists plan to place a person in a device emitting controlled doses of radio frequency electromagnetic field.

Professor Kołaciński hopes that in 10 years this method will be effectively used in specific types of cancer. "Certainly not for all types, but for certain types of cancer it will be verified and approved for use" - said the scientist. (PAP)

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