Indian researchers create magnetic bandage that heats, destroys skin cancer cells

October 21, 2020

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) have made an impressive leap in cancer treatment by developing a non-invasive, magnetic bandage that can kill skin cancer cells with heat. Using an emerging technique known as “magnetic hyperthermia,” the magnetic nanoparticles within – onceat the tumour site – heats up and takes out surrounding cancer cells when activated with an alternating magnetic field.

The nanoparticles are created through a technique called electrospinning, where materials are drawn through an electric field to create microscopic fibres. As such, the resulting nanoparticles are a mix of an iron oxide and a biodegradable polymer, pasted onto a surgical tape.

The heated bandage successfully killed off human cancer cell lines in vitro and also in mice with artificially induced skin cancer. The bandage thankfully left healthy tissue unharmed with no evidence of burns or inflammation.

IISC’s Shilpee Jain explained: “The elevated temperature at the treatment site enables heat to penetrate the tumour cells, rupturing their compact and random vasculatures (network of blood vessels). In contrast, normal healthy cells, owing to their organised, open vasculatures, dissipate the heat to maintain normal temperatures, and so remain unharmed.”

The most common type of cancer, skin cancer is caused mainly due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Common treatments for the different types of skin cancer including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy have limitations – while the novel treatment method by IISC is promising, a lot more studies on progressively larger animals must first be carried out before it enters pre-clinical and clinical use.

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Category: Technology & Devices

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