A major breakthrough has occurred in medical science's ongoing war against one of the greatest killers of all time: cancer.
The landmark research presented at the British Thoracic Society (BTS), lights the pathway towards a revolutionary new method to defeat the insidious disease.
Dr. Sam Janes, a clinical cancer scientist at University College London in concert with Professor Quentin Pankhurst, director of research at the Royal Institution have created a new method of targeting cancer cells and bombarding them with high-energy magnetic waves. The technology can project a high frequency pulse that's narrowly focused on the malignant cells. [Photo]
The two researchers discovered that by enveloping cancer cells with microscopic grains of iron oxide, the magnetic pulses will vibrate faster and faster until the cells overheat and die. No damage ensues to the surrounding healthy cells and no potentially damaging radiation is used.
During an interview with the press, Dr. Janes stated that the new approach to cancer treatment can be used for treating various cancers, especially lung cancer. "We are still in the early stages but we think this shows a lot of promise," he said.
"This is an exciting breakthrough in the world of respiratory therapy as we know it," proclaimed Dr. Paul Beckett, chair of the BTS's specialist advisory group on lung cancer. He believes this technique is a big step forward towards eradicating lung cancer.
"This innovative hyperthermia therapy is another step up in helping to improve the outcomes for people with lung disease. It proves how important it is to continue to invest in research and development of lung diseases."
Another revolutionary step in the technique involves inserting the iron oxide inside bone marrow stem cells. Those cells zero in on cancer that has erupted in the body.
"We are concentrating on getting more of the stem cells into the tumor," Dr. Janes explained, "while also altering the size of the nanoparticles and the frequency at which they are vibrated at to increase the heat."
The key to success is heating up cancer cells to the point they are killed without causing any damage to surrounding tissue. That cancer can be eradicated by raising the cell's temperature has been known for many years. The question was how to manage it successfully without causing any trauma to the patient or residual side-effects.
"If you heat cancer cells up to 43 degrees C [109.4F] they start to die. Our natural body temperature is 37 degrees C [89.6F]. The technique that we are using, we are able to reach that threshold," Dr. Janes said.
The two scientists conducted extensive tests with mice. The technique raised temperatures in the cancer cells by an amazing 6 degrees—well above the the animals' normal body temperature. At that point all the cancer cells died.