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How nanoparticles can be used to cure tumors

The non-invasive technique is termed “thermal ablation with magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS).” When used in conjunction with chemotherapy, complete destruction of tumors in mice has been demonstrated.

MRgFUS uses an ultrasound beam to heat-up and destroy cancerous, in combination with magnetic resonance imaging. The process allows a beam to be carefully guided towards the area in the body where the tumor resides.

In order to direct the beam, the team looked at positron emission tomography/computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, autoradiography, and fluorescence imaging. In the end, they found magnetic resonance imaging to be the most effective method. Magnetic resonance imaging is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy. It is normally used to create pictures of organs and structures inside the body.

The UC Davis researchers further showed that the process of “ultrasound-induced mild hyperthermia” can be used to enhance the build-up at the tumor site of tiny nanoparticles. The nanoparticles can be packed with anti-cancer drugs. The process also seems to stimulate the local immune response.

In a set of studies the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin was used to treat mice. The mice had been treated to develop a tumor of equivalence to breast cancer. Several rounds of the treatment are required.

The research is published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The research study is titled “Ultrasound ablation enhances drug accumulation and survival in mammary carcinoma models.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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