Conventional treatment seeks to eradicate cancer cells by drugs and therapy delivered from outside the cell, which may also affect (and potentially harm) nearby normal cells.
In the effort to find ways to selectively pinpoint and target cancer cells while minimizing effects on healthy cells, it’s already been found in lab experiments that iron-oxide nanoparticles, when heated and then applied specifically to cancer cells, can kill those cells because cancer cells are particularly susceptible to changes in temperature. Increasing the temperature of cancer cells to over 43 degrees Celsius (about 109 degrees Fahrenheit) for a sufficient period of time can kill those cells.
The University of Cincinnati team has developed several novel designs for iron-oxide based nanoparticles that detect, diagnose and destroy cancer cells using photo-thermal therapy (PTT). PTT uses the nanoparticles to focus light-induced heat energy only within the tumor, harming no adjacent normal cells.