What is Magnetic Hyperthermia?

There are several research studies going on all over the world to know more about the mechanism of cancer. As part of the clinical studies, experts are working day and night to find ways to treat this dreadful ailment with new and effective modalities. One such experimental model of remedy is

magnetic hyperthermia

. As of now, studies on this new way of destroying rogue cells are underway in Germany.

However, any path-breaking development in this field would extend the availability of this treatment all over the world. This article tries to gain further insight on this subject.

What is Magnetic Hyperthermia?

The meaning behind the two words in this term should be understood separately to appreciate the remedy and its mechanism in totality. Lets us try to understand them in depth.

The term hyperthermia refers to a cancer treatment in which heat is used to destroy the cancer cells. It can be applied either locally or on the entire body. While the former type has become a common practice, the latter is still in its experimental phase.

The technique all by itself cannot treat the ailment. That is why, it is an adjuvant therapy. It is effective when used along with the standard treatments of cancer like the surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Local application is effective when the disease is diagnosed in its early stage. However, whole-body application of this treatment is appearing to be more promising and effective in addressing metastasis.

Most of the cancer cases are diagnosed in a stage when the disease is in advanced stage. The rogue cells by this stage spread all over the body and affect even the remote locations of the body. For any cancer treatment, the biggest challenge is to address this dreadful stage.

Basics to Understand the term Magnetic in this Treatment:

There are several means by which energy can be guided into the chunk of malignant cells to destroy them. One such means is using magnetic substances or particles to be precise.

Substances can be categorized into three based on their response to the magnetic field. Those which respond strongly to it are called ferromagnetic. Those which are weakly influenced by this field are called the paramagnetic. If a substance repels this field, then it is called diamagnetic substance.

How Hyperthermia Using Magnetic Field Treats Cancer?

The various effects this field has on a magnetic substance which can be used for many beneficial purposes. For instance, when this field is applied in a particular manner, the substance changes its direction. This alteration in the orientation can generate heat. It is a fundamental property of all magnetic substances.


If appropriate magnetic substances are chosen and successfully guided to the site of tumor, the generated heat under the influence of the magnetic field can kill the rogue cells. Such an approach to treat cancer is known as targeted cancer therapy.

As the name is self explanatory, this is a treatment modality of cancer where the source of the remedy targets the tumor chunk, arrives at its site and destroys it. Very small magnetically sensitive nano-particles are used for this purpose. The biggest advantage of this technique is the fact that the surrounding healthy cells are not affected by heat generated during the process.

While healthy cells have the mechanism to dissipate excess heat from their structure, the malignant cells with cramped blood vessels cannot survive the raise in temperature.

Apart from this energy, the rogue cells have to deal with other stress factors in their environment like low levels of oxygen, nourishment and high levels of acidic concentration. All these factors eventually compel the malignant cells to undergo apoptosis or natural death.


The technique of

magnetic hyperthermia

is a promising future treatment of cancer. There are certain technical challenges which experts need to overcome before making it available in the society.

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