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Scientists test nanoparticle 'alarm clock' to awaken immune systems put to sleep by cancer
Date:7/25/2014

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"Now that efforts to stimulate anti-tumor immune responses are moving from the lab to the clinic, the potential for nanoparticles to be utilized to improve an immune-based therapy approach is attracting a lot of attention from both scientists and clinicians. And clinical usage does not appear too distant," said Fiering.

Fiering is testing the use of heat in combination with nanoparticles. An inactive metallic nanoparticle containing iron, silver, or gold is absorbed by a cancer cell. Then the nanoparticle is activated using magnetic energy, infrared light, or radio waves. The interaction creates heat that kills cancer cells. The heat, when precisely applied, can prompt the immune system to kill cancer cells that have not been heated. The key to this approach is minimizing healthy tissue damage while maximizing cancerous tumor destruction of the sort that improves recognition of the tumor by the immune system.

Fiering cautions that there is a great deal of research and many technical variables that should be explored to find the most effective ways to use nanoparticles to heat tumors and stimulate anti-tumor immunity.

According to Fiering, this approach is far from new, "The use of heat to treat cancer was first recorded by ancient Egyptians. But has reemerged with high tech modern systems as a contributor to the new paradigm of fighting cancer with the patients' own immune system."


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Contact: Donna Dubuc
Donna.M.Dubuc@Dartmouth.edu
603-653-3615
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Source:Eurekalert

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