Technology 3 min read

Using Magnetic Particle Imaging to Monitor Chemotherapy Delivery

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Scientists at Michigan State University have created a new way of monitoring chemotherapy delivery. It involves the use of an imaging technique called magnetic particle imaging.

As advanced as the current technology is, it has been unable to take the guesswork out of chemotherapy delivery. As a result, health professionals have to figure out just the right dosage to treat a patient.

That’s not an easy feat.

A high does will not only harm healthy tissue and cells, but it could lead to worse side effects that could ultimately kill the patient. On the other hand, a low dose will only stun the cancer cells, letting them come back stronger and deadlier.

An associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, Bryan Smith, decided to take on this issue. Smith created a process that’s based around magnetic particle imaging (MPI).

The new process uses superparamagnetic nanoparticles as the contrast agent and the primary signal source to monitor drug release at the site of the tumor.

In a statement about the project, Smith said:

“With MPI, doctors in the future could see how much drug is going directly to the tumor and then adjust amounts given on the fly. Conversely, if toxicity is a concern, it can provide a view of the liver, spleen or kidneys as well to minimize side effects.”

With the new method, health professionals can comfortably keep a patient within the therapeutic window.

How the Magnetic Particle Imaging Works

MPI is a new non-invasive tomographic technique that directly detects superparamagnetic nanoparticle tracers. Not only is it faster than the traditional MRI, but it has a near-infinite contrast too.

For the study, the researchers paired Doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug, with superparamagnetic nanoparticle system in mice. According to the researcher, this nanocomposite combination serves both as a drug delivery system and an MPI tracer.

So, when the nanocomposite begins to degrade in the body, it also releases Doxorubicin in the tumor. At the same time, the iron oxide nanocluster starts to disassemble, which triggers changes in the MPI signal.

Thanks to these signal changes, doctors will be able to see the precise amount to medicine that’s reaching the tumor at any depth.

Smith noted:

“We showed that the MPI signal changes are linearly correlated with the release of Doxorubicin with nearly 100-percent accuracy. This key concept enabled our MPI innovation to monitor drug release. Our translational strategy of using a biocompatible polymer-coated iron oxide nanocomposite will be promising in future clinical use.”

In the future, the researcher intends to enhance the process’s qualitative capabilities and test other chemotherapy drugs aside from Doxorubicin. At the moment, Smith has filed a provisional patent for the procedure.

Read More: New MRI technique Can Capture Molecular Changes in the Brain

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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