Magnetic Seeds Being Used to Help Kill Tumor and Cancer Cells

Magnetic Seeds Being Used to Help Kill Tumor and Cancer Cells

In the world of medicine, cancer has been a leading disease that kills about 606,520 people each year, according to The American Cancer Society. However, a new category of cancer treatment is on the way. 


Recently, medical scientists at the University of Sheffield and University College London have been studying how magnets could possibly help kill cancer cells. 


Dr. Munitta Muthana, a lead scientist in the project at the University of Sheffield, stated in The Guardian, “The essence of this approach is straightforward: we are using bugs as drugs”. She also said,  “We are taking a class of viruses that naturally target tumors and are developing ways to help them reach internal tumors by exploiting bacteria that make magnets. It’s a twin approach and it has a lot of promise, we believe.


The bacteria that are killing cancer cells are called oncolytic viruses. They are naturally occurring cells that are being enhanced so that they lessen the chance of attacking healthy cells. Once the oncolytic viruses come in contact with cancer and tumor cells, they explode the cells and get rid of the tumors.


 The Guardian states, “…the Sheffield team – whose work has just been awarded the Roger Griffin prize for cancer drug discovery – wants to expand the range of tumors that can be tackled this way. In particular, they want to target breast and prostate cancers as priorities


Another university, University College London, is doing a similar experiment. Advanced Science News stated, “A team at University College London has shown that a new MRI cancer therapy using tiny magnetic ‘seeds’ can non-invasively target and kill cancer cells.” Tiny magnetic seeds, also known as thermoseeds, are put into the body; then remotely heated when in contact with cancer cells. 


When tested on mice, the results were extremely promising. 2 mm-sized seeds were placed under mice’s skin where tumors lay. The seeds were then navigated to the tumors with an MRI machine and heated the cancer cells for five minutes, with a one-minute break after each minute. After ten days of heating, the cancer cell decreased remarkably in size. Some mice’s tumors were even completely gone within 33 days. 


This new approach to cancer treatment may be a huge breakthrough and its evolution within the medical field may save many lives to come.