Scientists have discovered that using tiny magnets to deliver anti-cancer gene thereapy could make the therapy more effective. Gene therapy replaces faulty genes, which would possibly code for the regulatory proteins that cause cells to die or stop replicating. IF one of these genes is damaged through mutation, the cell divisions become very rapid and uncontrolled, causing cancer. The problem has been getting the genes to the right part of the body to treat the damaged DNA.
Gene Therapy, but Instead of Using Viruses, Scientists Want to Use WBCs and Magnets
Now, by inserting magnetic nanoparticles into white blood cells and injecting them into the bloodstream, doctors have been able to guide the genes attached by using an external magnet. Thus, the therapy has actually reached its target and in great numbers causing the treatment to become much more powerful. The new method might also be used to send genes to treat other conditions like arthritis or heart disease.
Tests on humans are still not quite ready. As of now, the tests have only treated tumors just under the skin of mice. The real test will be treating tumors deep inside the body, where cancer normally strikes organisms. “We would hope that this will be safer because we are using a natural mechanism in the body and patients’ own white blood cells to deliver the gene therapy,” says Dr. Clair Lewis, the head researcher.