Nanoparticle mediated hyperthermia is a prospective cancer therapy that destroys tumors by locally heating tumor cells, which are more susceptible to temperature increases than healthy tissue. The heat is generated by magnetic nanoparticles subjected to an alternating magnetic field. Researchers in MML and NCNR have recently determined that strongly interacting coated magnetic nanoparticles yield very large increases (by a factor of seven) in heat output as compared to nominally identical particles which are only weakly interacting.
This finding is a significant departure from "common knowledge" in the medical community, which has long contended that non-interacting magnetic nanoparticles are the ideal material for hyperthermia treatment. This interaction strength may be controlled by varying the interparticle distance with different coatings and by the magnetic strength of the nanoparticles by selection of the nanoparticle chemistry. These results are expected to provide improved guidance to industry for the development of new nanoparticles for hyperthermia cancer treatment. This work was performed in collaboration with Triton BioSystems, and Micromod Partikeltechnologie, GmbH.