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Andrey Zakharchenko, a doctoral candidate in the UGA Nanostructured Materials Lab within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, uses a micro calorimeter to monitor the release of drug molecules from nanoparticle carriers. (Credit: Cal Powell)

A team of researchers has developed a noninvasive method of delivering drugs directly to cancerous tissue using magnetic forces, a form of treatment that could significantly reduce the toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

The researchers created very fine nanoparticles that acted as drug carriers, one a substrate base carrying the drugs, and the other loaded with enzymes. Upon application of a relatively weak magnetic field, the two nanoparticles merge, forcing a reaction that releases the drugs at a specific location.

By controlling the timing of the interaction, researchers could pinpoint delivery of the drug to a precise location, thus preventing side common side effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss or cardiac toxicity.

The use of a static magnetic field to cause the reaction is important because it poses no threat to the body, said Sergiy Minko, the Georgia Power Professor of Fiber and Polymer Science within the FACS department of textiles, merchandising and interiors and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of chemistry.

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