Thermal Enhanced Destruction of Tumor with Carbon Nanotubes


    To date, cancer is still one of the top cause of mortality in the US. According to the American Cancer Society, it was the 2nd cause of death, responsible for 22.8% of all death in the US. Current available treatment for cancer include, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. Complete removal of the cancerous tissues and cells without damage to rest of the body is the goal of the treatment. This can usually be achieved by surgery sometimes, but surgery is very invasive, and success rate are dependent on the surgery, as well as the fact that it is sometimes very hard to determine where the cancer start or ends. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy on the other hand, are very toxic, and can often cause damage to normal tissues or cells. Recently, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have been used clinically to treat some malignant tumor, but it suffers different drawbacks1. RFA is invasive, and requires the needle electrode to be inserted into the cancerous site; it is not 100% effective, incomplete tumor destruction occur in 5%-40% of the treated lesions; it is non-specific, and can induce thermal necrosis in both malignant and normal tissues; finally, it is limited to only liver, kidney, breast, lung and bone. Carbon nanotubes, due to its unique properties have been found to efficiently convert RF irradiation into heat. This provides a potential as a none invasive method to destruct many types of cancer, with minimal or no toxic effect to neighboring cells.

    Some preliminary research have been conducted, and results published in Cancer by Dr. Gannon’s group from University of Texas, Austin2. The rest of this site will explain the unique properties of single walled carbon nanotubes, show the method and materials used in recent studies as well as some results, both in vitro and in vivo.