Magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) is a promising new cancer treatment that essentially “fries” cells inside tumors.
The procedure has been used successfully in prostate, liver, and breast tumors. Magnetic nanoparticles (each billionths of a meter in size) are injected into the body intravenously and diffuse selectively into cancerous tissues. Add a high-frequency magnetic field, and the particles heat up, raising the temperature of the tumor cells.
“The entire tumor volume is heated above a threshold treatment temperature — typically 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — for generally 30 minutes,” explains engineering graduate student Monrudee Liangruksa of Virginia Tech.
The outcome? As described November 23 at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Long Beach, CA, when the nanoparticles are heated, cancer cells die with no adverse effects to the surrounding healthy tissue.