Magnetic nanoparticles (with a size of some few to several hundred nanometres) are a new, promising means of fighting cancer. The particles serve as a carrier for drugs: "loaded" with the drugs, the nanoparticles are released into the blood stream, where they move until they come under the influence of a targeting magnetic field which holds them on to the tumour – until the drug has released its active agent.
Besides this pharmaceutical effect, also a physical action can be applied: an electromagnetic a.c. field heats up the accumulated particles so much that they destroy the tumour. Both therapeutic concepts have the advantage of largely avoiding undesired side effects on the healthy tissue.
These procedures have already been successfully been applied in the animal model and have, in part, already been tested on patients. Here it is important to know before application whether the particles tend to aggregate and thus might occlude blood vessels. Information about this can be gained by magnetorelaxometry developed at the PTB. In this procedure, the particles are shortly magnetised by a strong magnetic field in order to measure their relaxation after the switch-off of the field by means of superconducting quantum interferometers, so-called "SQUIDs". Conclusions on their aggregation behaviour in these media can be drawn from measurements of suspensions of nanoparticles in the serum or in whole blood. As an example, it could be shown in this way that certain nanoparticles in the blood serum form clusters with a diameter of up to 200 nm – a clear indication of aggregation, so that these nanoparticles do not appear to be suitable for therapy
At present, the high technical effort connected with the use of helium-cooled magnetic field sensors is still standing in the way of using this method routinely in practice. In a joint project with Braunschweig Technical University supported by the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the procedure is currently being transferred to a simpler technology based on fluxgate magnetometers.This text in the latest issue of PTB-news (08.2):
Erika Schow | alfa
Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun
18.04.2019 | University of Warwick
In vivo super-resolution photoacoustic computed tomography by localization of single dyed droplets
18.04.2019 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences