A brilliant group of researchers at University College London (UCL) have figured out a novel way to use MRI scanners.
MRI scanners are conventionally used as an essential tool in the detection of diseases, but now, this equipment could potentially be the key to destroying cancer tumors without the patient ever having to undergo open surgery.
The research team at UCL has developed a novel breakthrough cancer therapy called “minimally invasive image-guided ablation,” or MINIMA for short. The therapy, which has already been tested on mice, involves ferromagnetic thermoseeds, which are 2mm metal spheres that can be guided to a tumor via magnetic propulsion generated by an MRI scanner, and then heated remotely to kill whatever cancer cells in proximity.
MRI seeds strengthen our fight against cancer
The three major components of MINIMA are precise seed imaging, navigation through brain tissue using a customized MRI system (tracked to within 0.3 mm accuracy), and eradicating the tumor in a mouse model through heat.
“Using an MRI scanner to deliver a therapy in this way allows the therapeutic seed and the tumor to be imaged throughout the procedure, ensuring the treatment is delivered with precision and without having to perform open surgery,” says Rebecca Baker in a press release, lead author of the study at the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. “This could be beneficial to patients by reducing recovery times and minimizing the chance of side effects.”
The team hopes to improve upon the current seed’s structure by making it so that they can function as a tiny cutting knife that can be guided through tissue. This could make it possible for surgeons to accomplish remotely controlled procedures which would revolutionize non-invasive surgery.
Source study: Advanced Science – Image-guided magnetic thermoseed navigation and tumor ablation using a magnetic resonance imaging system