Researchers at Kettering University and the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center have created a new method of destroying cancer cells in patients with chorodial melanoma and retinoblastoma — both cancers of the eye — without using radiation or chemotherapy.
According to Prem Vaishnava, professor of physics at Kettering University in Flint, MI, and Dr. Hakan Demirci at U-M in Ann Arbor, MI, the treatment is currently being used in Europe but has not been approved yet in the United States.
The treatment uses iron oxide molecules, which are magnetic nanoparticles that are suspended in a solution and can be injected into the body or directly into a tumor. A magnet positioned around the affected area then guides these magnetic nanoparticles. Once they are concentrated around the cancer site, a magnetic field is applied, causing the nanoparticles to oscillate and give off heat, killing the cancer cells.
Phase I and Phase II trials have been conducted successfully using magnetic nanoparticles in animals in the U.S., according to Vaishnava. The researchers are seeking funding for Phase II trials, which will involve treating mice with ocular cancers. Phase III trials will involve humans.