(NaturalNews) Yet another study supports the use of heat to kill cancer cells without harming neighboring cells, in a promising alternative to chemo- and radiation therapy.
In a study conducted by researchers from Virginia Tech and Iadavpur University in Kolkata, India, and presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society, researchers injected a solution called a ferrofluid into both cancerous cells in the laboratory and into tumor cells inside living humans.
A ferrofluid is a solution containing nanoparticles that will become strongly magnetized if placed inside a magnetic field.
"These fluids can then be magnetically targeted to cancerous tissues after intravenous application," researcher Ishwar Puri said. "The magnetic nanoparticles, each billionths of a meter in size, seep into the tissue of the tumor cell due to the high permeability of these vessels."
After injecting the fluid, the researchers exposed the tumors to high-frequency alternating magnetic fields, causing the nanoparticles in the ferrofluid to heat up rapidly. This technique is formally known as magnetic fluid hyperthermia, but the researchers have dubbed it "thermotherapy."
Increasingly, researchers are looking to controlled hyperthermia, in which body temperature is deliberately raised above its normal level, as a way of killing cancer cells.
"Compelling evidence exists that hyperthermia therapy as part of a multimodal treatment approach is a viable tool that should be used more often in cancer therapies, either systemically, which involves the whole body, or locally, just around the area of a tumor," write Donald R. Yance and Arlene Valentine in the book "Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment."
Temperatures as low as 41 to 45 degrees Celsius (106 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit) can slow or halt cancerous growth. The significance of the "thermotherapy" used in the new study is its ability to heat cancer cells without also killing neighboring tissue.
"The ideal hyperthermia treatment sufficiently increases the temperature of the tumor cells for about 30 minutes while maintaining the healthy tissue temperature below 41 degrees Celsius," Puri said.