Magnetic Hyperthermia: scorching cancer

Nanotechnology involves the study of nature at a very small scale, searching new properties and applications. The development of this area of knowledge affects greatly both biotechnology and medicine disciplines. The use of materials at the nanoscale, in particular magnetic nanoparticles, is currently a prominent topic in healthcare and life science. Due to their size-tunable physical and chemical properties, magnetic nanoparticles have demonstrated a wide range of applications ranging from medical diagnosis to treatment. Combining a high saturation magnetization with a properly functionalized surface, magnetic nanoparticles are provided with enhanced functionality that allows them to selectively attach to target cells or tissues and play their therapeutic role in them. In particular, iron oxide nanoparticles are being actively investigated to achieve highly efficient carcinogenic cell destruction through magnetic hyperthermia treatments. Hyperthermia in different approaches has been used combined with radiotherapy during the last decades, however, serious harmful secondary effects have been found in healthy tissues to be associated with these treatments. In this framework, nanotechnology provides a novel and original solution with magnetic hyperthermia, which is based on the use of magnetic nanoparticles to remotely induce local heat when a radiofrequency magnetic field is applied, provoking a temperature increase in those tissues and organs where the tumoral cells are present. Therefore, one important factor that determines the efficiency of this technique is the ability of magnetic nanoparticles to be driven and accumulated in the desired area inside the body. With this aim, magnetic nanoparticles must be strategically surface functionalized to selectively target the injured cells and tissues.

REF: Manuel Bañobre-López, Antonio Teijeiro, Jose Rivas, Magnetic nanoparticle-based hyperthermia for cancer treatment, Reports of Practical Oncology & Radiotherapy, Volume 18, Issue 6, 2013, Pages 397-400, ISSN 1507-1367,