(November 25, 2010 - PRNewswire) -- Magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) is a promising new cancer treatment that heats cells inside tumors to kill them. The procedure has been used successfully in prostate, liver, and breast tumors. Magnetic nanoparticles are injected into the body intravenously and diffuse selectively into cancerous tissues. Add a high-frequency magnetic field, and the particles heat up, raising the temperature of the tumor cells.
"The entire tumor volume is heated above a threshold treatment temperature -- typically 42°C (107.6°F) -- for generally 30 minutes," explains engineering graduate student Monrudee Liangruksa of Virginia Tech.
The outcome? As described at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Long Beach, CA, when the nanoparticles are heated, cancer cells die with no adverse effects to the surrounding healthy tissue.
To further perfect the technique, Liangruksa and her colleagues explored the effects of different types of magnetic nanoparticles. The most promising varieties, they found, were iron–platinum, magnetite, and maghemite, all of which generate therapeutically useful heating. "However, we wish to use MFH in humans," she says, and "the most biocompatible agents are magnetite and maghemite. Iron–platinum is toxic and vulnerable to oxidation."
The 63rd Annual DFD Meeting is hosted this year by the University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles. http://www.dfd2010.caltech.edu/
The Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society (APS) exists for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of the physics of fluids with special emphasis on the dynamical theories of the liquid, plastic and gaseous states of matter under all conditions of temperature and pressure. See: http://www.aps.org/units/dfd/