Heated nanoparticles trigger immune systems deactivated by cancer
October 10, 2014
Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center have developed a method to use heat with nanoparticles to wake up the immune system so it recognizes and attacks invading cancer cells, according to Steve Fiering, PhD, Norris Cotton Cancer Center researcher and professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and of Genetics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
The innovation uses a well-known method of killing cancer cells: a metallic nanoparticle containing iron, silver, or gold injected into the cancer cell and then heated externally, using magnetic energy, infrared light, or radio waves;
But that method can’t kill all of the resilient cancer cells. What’s new is the use of heat to trigger the immune system to attack cancer cells — overcoming a tactic used by cancer cells to protect themselves by tricking the immune system into accepting everything as normal, even while cancer cells are dividing and spreading.