Dr. Archana V.N., a research scholar of Department of Physics, along with Prof. M R Anantharaman, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) has developed a magneto- plasmonic nanofluid which is biocompatible and can be used for the treatment of cancer.
The advantage of such a fluid is that it combines both magnetic hyperthermia and photodynamic therapy (PDT) and is a two in one material. Magnetic hyperthermia is the principle of heat created by the application of an external magnetic field to a tissue or cell previously targeted by the delivery of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION). This application of an appropriate external magnetic field ensures that only the malignant cells are heated to a temperature of 41 0 C and gets destroyed while the benign cells remain intact.
This has advantages over the existing chemotheraphy and other cancer curing drugs. The principle of photodynamic therapy is that a laser light having penetrating capability through the tissues identifies the malignant tissues and destroys the cells by the absorption of light. The highlight of this two in one fluid is that it is based on biocompatible superparamagnetic iron oxide and fluid nano oxide.
The findings of this study is published in the recent issue of the prestigious ‘Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials’. Further biomedical studies are in progress in collaboration with the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum. A magneto- optical set up has been indigenously developed at the Physics Department to study the magneto-optical properties of this nano fluid. Shan Abraham contributed to the measurement of magneto- optical properties.
The high point of this research is that the absorption wavelength of the plasmonic fluid can be tuned by adjusting the aspect ratio of the gold nanorods embedded in the nano fluid. These nano fluids can also be employed for biomedical imaging purpose. This work is a proof of the concept study and work is in progress to take this to the next stage.