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VCU research: Magnetic nanoparticles for potential cancer treatment

RICHMOND, Va. (Aug. 29, 2005) Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have created highly magnetized nanoparticles based on metallic iron that could one day be used in a non-invasive therapy for cancer in which treatment would begin at the time of detection.

"We envision a potential for these materials to combine both detection and treatment into a single process," said Everett E. Carpenter, Ph.D., an assistant professor of chemistry at VCU.

Carpenter is discussing his ongoing work of the synthesis and characterization of these functional magnetic nanoparticles for use in biomedical applications at the 2005 American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C., which began Aug. 28 and continues through Sept. 1.

More than 12,000 researchers from across the country are presenting new multidisciplinary research and highlighting important advances in biotechnology, nanoscience, nanotechnology, and defense and homeland security.

"Eventually, our goal is to use the scientific understanding of the growth mechanisms of these nanoparticles to develop materials for biomedical applications," said Carpenter. "By engineering the magnetic properties of enhanced ferrites it is possible to develop materials for the treatment of various cancers, such as breast cancer."

Carpenter and his team are working to determine how to best construct the core-shell structure and learn which shell materials are most ideal for biomedical applications such as magnetodynamic therapy (MDT), or as MRI contrast enhancement agents.

According to Carpenter, in the future it may be possible for a patient to be screened for breast cancer using MRI techniques with engineered enhanced ferrites as the MRI contrast agent. He said if a tumor is detected, the doctor could then increase the power to the MRI coils and localized heating would destroy the tumor region without damage to the surrounding healthy cells.

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Contact: Sathya Achia-Abraham
sbachia@vcu.edu
804-827-0890
Virginia Commonwealth University
29-Aug-2005


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