Cancer: Powerful ‘seeds’ that can ‘kill’ cancer cells – study


Cancer: Powerful ‘seeds’ that can ‘kill’ cancer cells – study

A new treatment has been developed that could destroy hard to reach cancer tumours that evade normal treatment.The treatment utilises existing equipme

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A new treatment has been developed that could destroy hard to reach cancer tumours that evade normal treatment.

The treatment utilises existing equipment available at hospitals, as MRI scanners are already a vital tool for diagnosing cancer.

The magnetic fields of the MRI scanner are used to steer a small magnetic seed through the body and into the tumour, where it is then remotely activated to destroy the cancer cells with heat.

The 2mm seeds can be navigated accurately, and cause little damage to tissues around the cancer.

The researchers call the therapy MINIMA, which stands for minimally invasive image-guided ablation.

Senior author Professor Mark Lythgoe said: “MINIMA is a new MRI-guided therapy that has the potential to avoid traditional side effects by precisely treating the tumour without harming healthy tissues.

“Because the heating seed is magnetic, the magnetic fields in the MRI scanner can be used to remotely steer the seed through tissue to the tumour.

“Once at the tumour, the seed can then be heated, destroying the cancer cells, while causing limited damage to surrounding healthy tissues.”

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The research is set to benefit from cancers that require invasive therapies to treat by current methods.

This includes cancers in sensitive regions of the body such as the brain or prostate.

Co-author Dr Lewis Throne, a consultant neurosurgeon said: “I treat patients with the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

“Following surgery, the average survival time is 12-18 months.

“MINIMA can successfully destroy cancer in a mouse and has the potential to extend survival and limit damage to adjacent brain tissues in patients.”

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