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Lynn Shapiro, Writer | August 05, 2009

She adds that several groups are working on using nanomaterials as anti-cancer agents. "This is an exciting and rapidly developing frontier," she says.

Torti adds that it's hard to predict when clinical trials might begin. Several
additional studies, including pharmacology and toxicology, would need to

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be carried out subclinically, before human trials could begin.

Patients Receiving Heat Therapy

Currently, cancer patients are receiving thermal ablation, or heat therapy, including radiofrequency ablation, which applies a single-point source of heat to the tumor, rather than evenly heating the tumor throughout, like the MWCNTs were able to do.

"MWCNTs are more effective at producing heat than other investigational nanomaterials," Torti said. "Because this is a heat therapy rather than a biological therapy, the treatment works on all tumor types if you get them hot enough. We are hopeful that we will be able to translate this into humans."

"We're excited about this," Torti said. "This is the intersection between the physical and the medical sciences that represents the new frontier in modern medicine."

The study appears in the August issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). It is the result of a collaborative effort between Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Rice University and Virginia Tech.

Source: Wake Forest University School of Medicine

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