Oncologists have an array of treatment options for their patients with cancer. However, some of those treatments are painful and have very difficult side effects. But scientists are investigating new methods that may be easier to withstand. These include heat and gold nanoparticles. Let’s take a deeper look at this process.
Hyperthermia as cancer treatment
Hyperthermia, also known as overheating, is a therapy that uses heat to kill cancer cells. Currently, it’s best used alongside other therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
It has challenges. It’s crucial to target the heat in the right place. This is where gold can help. Research shows that gold nanoparticles can be used to heat and kill cancer cells with very good precision and few side effects. It is called photothermal therapy and shows potential for being an effective treatment against cancer.
Severe fever and cancer
In the 19th century, some doctors noticed that certain cancer patients who suffered from high fevers found their cancer symptoms decreased. Some patients experienced complete tumor regression.
One surgeon, Dr. William Coley investigated this further in 1891 by injecting S. pyogenes into a patient’s inoperable tumor to see if the infection would help shrink it. The patient’s body temperature rose to 105 degrees. Days after the fever began, his tumor started to shrink. After two weeks, the tumor had been eliminated. Coley spent years perfecting bacterial injections to treat tumors. These formulations became known as Coley’s toxins. This treatment appeared to work best on bone cancers and soft-tissue sarcomas.
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