Researchers from the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have found a way to treat cancer. The new method uses lasers to brighten tiny nanoparticles and destroy tumors.
The researchers unveiled the latest progress for this iron-containing MWCNTs (Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes) technology at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, held in Philadelphia. MWCNTs are threads made of hollow carbon, which are thinner than human hair by 10,000 times.
The new method is based on a technique, called LITT (laser-induced thermal therapy) for the cancer treatment. LITT functions on the basis that some nanoparticles such as MWCNTs has the ability to absorb the laser energy and convert into heat. The nanoparticles will convert the energy into heat and destroy the cancerous cells, if they are zapped when it is inside a tumor.
However, the major drawback of the LITT is that in a medical scan, the nanoparticles are not clearly visible. The particles cannot be tracked once after it is injected. This may lead to destroying of healthy tissues, if the nanoparticles are zapped out of the cancer tumor.
The research team has now demonstrated that the nanoparticles can be viewed in the MRI scanner, enabling simultaneous heating and imaging. This is possible by loading the nanoparticles with iron. The research team demonstrated the process using tissue that had mouse tumors.