Yonsei scientists zap cancer cells with magnets

This looks like an exciting development in cancer research from South Korea.

“We have developed magnetic nanoparticles that turn on apoptosis cell signalling by using a magnetic field in a remote and non-invasive manner,” says Jinwoo Cheon and his Yonsei University team in the introduction to their article published in Nature Materials.

A schematic representation of the magnetic switch for apoptosis signalling in in vitro cells and in a zebrafish
A schematic representation of the magnetic switch for apoptosis signalling in in vitro cells and in a zebrafish. (Source: Nature Materials)

“Apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, … is one of the body’s ways of getting rid of old, infected or faulty cells,” explains the Metro. “Often in cancer, apoptosis doesn’t work and the cells carry on dividing uncontrollably and spreading.”

The scientists wrote: “We have demonstrated that apoptosis signalling can be turned on in-vitro (in the laboratory) and in a zebra fish in-vivo (living) model by using a magnetic switch. Our magnetic switch may be broadly applicable to any type of surface membrane receptors that exhibit cellular functions on clustering.”

Sources: Metro | NaturalSociety | Nature Materials, via Peter Corbishley.

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