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LV faculty researching safer cancer treatment

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Madison Rubino
Staff Writer

Professors from the natural sciences presented “Faraday Rotation of Magnetic Nanoparticles” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

During the past few years, magnetic nanoparticles have been a hot topic in the medical field, Associate Professor of Physics Vanessa Preisler and Associate Professor of Chemistry Ricardo Morales told the audience of students and faculty.

Scientists believe that the medical application of magnetic nanoparticles are linked to possible cures for cancer, they said.

“Faraday rotation is an experimental technique to test the magnetization of the magnetic nanoparticles,” Preisler said.

Magnetic nanoparticles in cancer treatment allows doctors to administer smaller doses of chemicals in chemotherapy and have greater control of which cells the chemicals destroy.

These magnetic properties can be used for different types of application, in this case it is medicine.
“The medical application is why these magnetic nanoparticles have been in the news lately, and of great interest to a larger community,” Preisler said.

“Every other disease that humans deal with have decreased dramatically in the past years, but if you look at the death toll for cancers, it’s increased,” alumnus Alex Malinick said.

Preisler worked with Malinick and Justine Alundy, senior physics major, during the past two years experimenting with magnetic nanoparticles and changing different variables to manipulate them and gather information for possible cancer treatments.

“Cancer has been very relevant in my family,” Malinick said. “When I spoke to professor Morales about doing undergraduate research he mentioned something about drug delivery systems for cancer and a bunch of ideas immediately went off. My cousin who suffered form brain cancer now deals with brain damage and if there were another way of treating cancers and delivering the chemotherapy drugs, there would have been less damage.”

In traditional methods of chemotherapy, chemicals used to treat cancer kill both cancerous and healthy cells.

“Treatment using magnetic nanoparticles uses magnetic fields to control the path of the chemicals being administered directing them into the cancerous cells,” Morales said.

This less invasive treatment results in less damage and side affects from chemotherapy.

“Nanoparticles are one of the leading edges in the sciences, its in medicine, it’s in the environment, and it’s all around,” said Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry.

“If it’s dealing with nanoparticles its something that needs our attention,” he said.

“In the past 50 years we really haven’t gotten any close to finding a cure so we believe that finding different ways to treat it may be the way to cure it,” Malinick said.

“If we found a way to cure it universally through drug delivery systems that would revolutionize how cancer is treated,” he said.

Madison Rubino can be reached at

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