UGA researchers may have found a new way to treat cancer

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: Kelly Mayes


A research team at the University of Georgia has developed a method that will allow for the introduction of drugs directly into cancerous tissue through the use of magnetic forces.

This method of treatment could greatly reduce the severe side effects that usually accompany chemotherapy.

“We showed that we can deliver anti-cancer drugs exactly in the area where they are needed and they can kill cancer cells,” said Andrey Zakharchenko, a graduate student in the Nanostructured Materials Lab, in a press release.

Researchers from UGA and Clarkson University in New York began developing this treatment by creating nanoparticles to act as transport mechanisms for the drug once it enters the body. One was loaded with a substrate base carrying drugs and the other with enzymes.

When the nanoparticles reach a specific location, a relatively weak magnetic field is applied. This incites a reaction causing the particles to merge, and release the drugs.

Controlling the timing of the reaction allow researchers to pinpoint the delivery of the drugs, preventing side effects of chemotherapy lice hair loss and chemical damage to the heart.

Researchers have proved the concept in vitro using chemotherapy drugs and cancer cells. The next step is to develop an animal model.

Pulsating magnets have been used for drug delivery in previous studies, but they caused problems because heat from the application destroyed healthy cells of patients.

This use of static magnetic friction in this study is important because not only is it a novel idea for the treatment method, but it also does not pose harm to the body.