tagged w/ Nature Materials
Scientists have created magnets that trigger tumors to 'self-destruct' in a breakthrough that could revolutionize cancer therapy.
Researchers in South Korea have developed a method that uses a magnetic field to flip a "self-destruct" switch in tumors in both living fish and laboratory cancer cells. Researchers from the latest study, published in the journal Nature Materials, plan on testing the new technique on a variety of other cancers to see if it can destroy other tumors.
Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is a process in which the body rids itself of old, faulty or infected cells, and according to researchers, the cell-death process is often blocked, which often renders some drugs to be ineffective and tumor cells to continue to develop and spread uncontrollably throughout the body.
In the latest study, researchers developed a new magnetic therapy that involves creating tiny iron oxide nanoparticles attached to antibodies or proteins produced by the body's immune system when it detects harmful foreign substances.
Researchers explain that these iron nanoparticles bind to the molecules on tumor cells, and when the magnetic field is activated, the molecules bunch together, which automatically triggers the death signal, leading the cancer to self-destruct. Researchers said that the new treatment may one day lead to new targeted therapies that could destroy tumor cells that are resistant to the usual process of cell death.
Researchers at Yonsei University in Seoul placed bowel cancer cells exposed to nanoparticles in between two magnets and found that more than half of the exposed cells were destroyed once the magnets were activated, whereas no untreated cells were affected.
Researchers noted while the new magnetic treatment effectively killed cancer cells in zebra fish in another experiment, magnetically-induced apoptosis therapy caused the animals to develop abnormal tails.
"We have demonstrated that apoptosis signaling can be turned on in-vitro (in the laboratory) and in a zebra fish in-vivo (living) model by using a magnetic switch. Our magnetic switch may be broadly applicable to any type of surface membrane receptors that exhibit cellular functions on clustering," lead researcher Professor Jinwoo Cheon and colleagues wrote in the study.
Scientists noted that their research is still in its preliminary stages and that far more work is needed to be done to see if the process can be refined and eventually tested on people....
http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12574/20121008/magnets-cause-cancer-cells-self-destruct.htmScientists have created magnets that trigger tumors to 'self-destruct' in a... more
Caltech Researchers Develop Strongest Known Metal Alloy
January 16, 2011 4:22 PM
PASADENA (CBS) — Caltech researchers say they’ve developed a new metal alloy that is stronger than any other metal known to science.
Nature Materials, a scientific journal, says the new alloy combines palladium, a small fraction of silver, and a mixture of other metalloids has shown through tests to have a combination of strength and toughness at a level not previously seen in any other material.
The metal’s molecules are not crystallized, like other metals, but are locked into what scientists call a glass-like fluid, but the material does not shatter like common glass.
“Our study demonstrates for the first time that this class of materials, the metallic glasses, has the capacity to become the toughest and strongest ever known,” said senior Caltech research fellow Marios Demetriou. The new discovery is “pushing the envelope of damage tolerance accessible to a structural metal.”
The discovery was made by a team of researchers that included William Johnson, the Caltech Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, and their Caltech colleagues.
Demetriou said the alloy could soon be used in biomedical implants, such as dental implants or in other structural applications like automotive or aerospace components, adding that the alloy is “prohibitively expensive. The cost is much too high for any large-scale, widespread use.”
He said scientists must determine what gives this alloy its unique damage tolerance, and how that can be replicated with alloys containing less-expensive precious metals.Caltech Researchers Develop Strongest Known Metal Alloy January 16, 2011 4:22 PM... more