Magnetic balls that heat up and then blast away tumors could be major step forward in cancer treatment, scientists say

Professor Mark Lythgoe, senior author of the five-year study, from University College London, said: ‘Many people were very sceptical that we would ever be able to send a magnetic ball into a tumour, and use an MRI machine to move it around.

‘But this shows people could simply go to their local hospital and have an MRI, not just to diagnose their cancer but to treat it by heating up the tumour.

‘There are thousands of MRI machines across the country which could be converted to do this.’ Applying extreme heat to cancer cells to destroy them has been done in studies of men with prostate cancer. But these tend to use nanoparticles injected into the gland without being guided to a tumour. The new technique requires a 2mm ‘seed’ pushed to a precise spot by the MRI’s magnetic force.

…Rebecca Baker, the lead author of the study, from the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, said: ‘Using an MRI scanner to deliver a therapy in this way allows the therapeutic seed and the tumour to be imaged throughout the procedure, ensuring the treatment is delivered with precision and without having to perform open surgery.’

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Simple concept, mechanical method make this a good bet to work well. ABN

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