Korean scientists at Yonsei University in Seoul have developed a new method of using a combination of zinc-doped iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles and an applied magnetic field to selectively kill cancer cells. They were able to show the effectiveness of the system in both laboratory colon cancer tissue as well as in tumors within living zebrafish.
The magnetic nanoparticles were first prepared by getting an attachment of an antibody for death receptor 4 (DR4) of DLD-1 colon cancer cells. When injected, the combination particles seek out the cancerous cells and grab on. Following, an external magnetic field is applied and the nanoparticles bunch up, setting off signaling pathways among the cancer cells leading to their death.
Article abstract in Nature Materials: A magnetic switch for the control of cell death signalling in in vitro and in vivo systems