A new study from the University
of Surrey reports the development of Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles, which can
self-regulate temperature and maintain the ideal temperature.
- Research team
develops "intelligent nanoparticles" which can be used in thermotherapy
for targeting cancer cells.
ferrite nanoparticles are self-temperature regulators that maintain the
ideal temperature of 42°C to 45°C.
nanoparticles also have low toxicity and do not have the devastating side
effects on healthy cells.
The study has been published in Nanoscale
Hyperthermic-thermotherapy is a developing method of treatment for
cancer. It uses nanoparticles that deliver the drug to the precise location of
the cancer and kill the cells by the application of heat. However, regulating
the heat as to not affect cancer cells has been a limitation for the therapy.
Hyperthermic-thermotherapy or Magnetic induction hyperthermia is a developing
therapy for cancer with the incorporation of nanoparticles
. It is aimed to
deliver the cancer drugs to the exact location of the cancer in the required
quantity. In this way, healthy cells are less affected; the dosage of the drug
is also precise and hence lowering toxicity.
‘In vitro assay shows that the Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles have low toxicity towards the cells.’
therapy, magnetic nanoparticles are
delivered to the cancer region and heat is applied through the generation of a
This heat kills the cancer cells, the treatment is hence
. Since the non-cancerous cells have a higher tolerance to heat, these cells
are not damaged. However, in order for this to work, the temperature must be
maintained accurately between 42̊C-45̊C. But monitoring the temperature inside
the body is easier said than done.
The "intelligent" nanoparticles
The new study from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute and colleagues
from the Dalian University of Technology in China have created nanoparticles
which can heat up to the desired temperature of 45°C but can cool themselves
down before they become hot enough to kill the healthy non-cancerous cells.
This self-temperature regulating property of the Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles
makes them ideal for use in a thermotherapy session.
Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute at the
University of Surrey, said: "This could potentially be a game changer in
the way we treat people who have cancer. If we can keep cancer treatment set at
a temperature level high enough to kill the cancer, while low enough to stop
harming healthy tissue, it will prevent some of the serious side effects of
The Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles also did not show toxicity towards
non-cancerous cells when used in an in-vitro assay. However, we can only be
certain of the efficacy of the nanoparticles when they are tested in humans.
Highlights of the Zn-Co-Cr
of self-regulating temperature for thermotherapy.
heat up to the temperature of 45°C.
not harm or destroy healthy cells.
toxicity in in-vitro assays.
- Zhang, W. et al. Novel nanoparticles with Cr3+ substituted ferrite for self-regulating temperature hyperthermia. Nanoscale 9, 13929-13937 (2017).
- New self-regulating nanoparticles could treat cancer - (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uos-nsn102317.php)