Magnetic Nanoparticles Update: Human Cancer Cells Tested
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Ovarian Cancer Institute have been experimenting with magnetic nanoparticles focused on attracting cancer cells so that they could be separated from healthy cells and removed from the site.
Ovarian cancer cells have been used for this study because of their rapid rate of metastasis. "Often, the lethality of cancers is not attributed to the original tumor but to the establishment of distant tumors by cancer cells that exfoliate from the primary tumor," said Ken Scarberry, a PhD student working on the project. "Circulating tumor cells can implant at distant sites and give rise to secondary tumors. Our technique is designed to filter the peritoneal fluid or blood and remove these free floating cancer cells, which should increase longevity by preventing the continued metastatic spread of the cancer."
The first study results, published in 2008, showed that the magnetic nanoparticles were successful in isolating ovarian cancer cells from healthy ones in mice cultures. In 2009, the group reported success in vivo and demonstrated how they could move the cancer cells from the mice ovaries to their abdomens using an exterior magnet.
Now, Georgia Tech reports that their magnetic technique was successful with human cancer cells, in vitro. The study, Selective removal of ovarian cancer cells from human ascites fluid using magnetic nanoparticles, will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Nanomedicine.
This very promising technique will now be tested on live animal models before being tested on humans.
Such are the protocols of medical research.