In a later stage, several cancers are still incurable, especially liver cancer. In addition, radio- and chemotherapeutic treatments cause several side effects that are often be irreversible. To overcome the disadvantages of traditional cancer treatments, magnetic hyperthermia therapy that is presently under the experimental stage has gained immense attention from scientists.
Recently, a group of scientists developed a new magnetic nanomaterial that exhibited promising results in terms of potentiality and selectivity.
What is Magnetic Hyperthermia Therapy?
MHT or Magnetic hyperthermia therapy is a magnetic material (i.e., nanoparticle) based treatment of cancer. The basic hypothesis is to subjecting a magnetic material to an altering magnetic field for transforming the electromagnetic energy from the external field to heat; the elevation or variation of heat around the cancer cells is expected to stop the tumor growth.
For practical application of MHT, the magnetic material having excellent tissue penetration property for deep-seated tumors needs to place inside a tumor, while the whole patient should be placed in an alternating magnetic field. Once the temperature of the tumor elevates, oxygenation and chemo-sensitivity of the tumor enhance, leading to shrink of the tumor and restrict the invasion of cancer.
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Common drawbacks in MHT
For the successful execution of magnetic hyperthermia therapy, two major properties of the respective nanoparticle are mandatory.
- Good magneto-thermal efficiency
- High intra-tumor penetration properties overcoming the barrier of phagocyte cells.
However, conventional intravenous-injected magnetic nanoparticles were shown to result in poor accumulation in targeted tumor cells. Instead, most of the material observed to be seized by the mononuclear phagocyte system, especially in the case of liver cancer.
What is the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS)?
Maybe you are confused about the role of MPS in between. The mononuclear phagocyte system is a part of the immune system consisting of Phagocyte cells, which accumulate in the lymph node, spleen, liver (Kpuffer cells), and histiocyte tissues.
However, the aforementioned drawbacks restricted the preferential liver uptake of several magnetic nanoparticles, leading to the slow growth of MHT research for the treatment of cancer.
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Discovery of New material for Magnetic hyperthermia therapy
Recently, in May 2021, Jianlin Shi and co-workers from the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics reported the synthesis of Zn2+-doped Zn-CoFe2O4@Zn-MnFe2O4 super-paramagnetic nanoparticles representing a core–shell-structural motif and checked their efficiencies for Magnetic hyperthermia therapy.
Owing to an exchange-coupled magnetism between the core and shell, and Zn2+ doping, the mentioned materials exhibited excellent and highly controllable magnetic hyperthermia performance.
According to their research, at 43–44 °C in association with the HSP70 expressions, a controlled Magnetic hyperthermia therapy inhibited the proliferation of liver cancer cells and tumor growth completely.
Notably, the heat shock proteins Hsp70s are important cells’ tool for protein folding, and undertake a crucial role to protect cells from the adverse effects arising from any sort of physiological stress. Thus membrane-bound HSP70s are considered a potential target in cancer therapy.
During in-vivo experiments, they observed, the MHT-treated liver cancer cells could activate the natural killer (NK) cells by upregulating the expression of UL16-binding proteins (ULBPs) and ligands of natural killer group NKG2D. Owing to the enhancement of NK-cell-related antitumor immunity, the growth of both xenograft and orthotopic liver tumors suppressed almost completely.
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Importance of the discovery
The synthesis of Zn2+-doped Zn-CoFe2O4@Zn-MnFe2O4 super-paramagnetic nanoparticles and the discovery of their in vivo MHT potential are the tremendous improvement in Magnetic Hyperthermia assisted liver cancer treatment.
The discovery revealed dual information in the advancement of Liver Cancer therapy:
- Uncovers the great potential of mild Magnetic hyperthermia therapy;
- Evidenced the immunity activation mechanism in treatment of liver cancer via mild MHT.
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Magnetic hyperthermia therapy is a growing process for the treatment of incurable cancers, presently under the experimental phase. The recent report revealed a huge advancement in this field, though several stages are still left to prove its efficiency in the human body; doses and toxicology are two of the most important phases, which the developed materials need to pass successfully before appearing for the clinical phase.
So, testing these areas followed by further engineering on the material to meet the requirements of a sustainable therapeutic agent are the major scopes related to this discovery.
Source: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2021, 143, 8116 (See Here)