Nanodiscs Shake Brain Cancer Into Remission

Conventional treatments are often ineffective for treating brain cancer, but scientists have developed a novel new method of destroying cancer cells in the brain: they tag them with metal nanodiscs and shake them to death with magnets.

Scientists at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy have developed a process by which tiny iron-plated discs are attached to antibodies that seek out cancerous cells. Those cells end up getting tagged with the discs, and when a light magnetic field is applied, the oscillation causes the cells to self-destruct. Surrounding healthy cells are left undamaged.

The scientists working on the project emphasize that it's still in the early, experimental phases, though they hope to begin testing on animals soon. But even if it takes several years to determine if this unique approach is viable for use on humans, it's always heartening to see nanomaterials being applied to the difficult problems of today. [Science Daily via Kottke]