Magnetocaloric Material for Cancer Treatment
Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020
Source | Press Information Bureau
GS Paper III: Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
- Magnetocaloric effect (MCE) is a phenomenon where the application and removal of a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer and cooler, respectively.
- This method, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy, would reduce the side effects, damage caused to the human body and also reduce the treatment time of cancer tumours.
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Context: A rare-earth-based magnetocaloric material that can be effectively used for cancer treatment has been developed by the Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- The magnetocaloric materials developed by ARCI are being tested at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST).
What is Magnetocaloric Effect and what are Magnetocaloric materials?
Magnetocaloric effect (MCE) is a phenomenon where the application and removal of a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer and cooler, respectively. This effect normally occurs near its Curie temperature (Curie point. Curie point, also called Curie Temperature, temperature at which certain magnetic materials undergo a sharp change in their magnetic properties.) where the application of field makes the material to warm up and cools up when the field is removed.
- Magnetocaloric effect is utilized in magnetic refrigeration, which is an environmentally friendly technology to obtain cooling efficiency nearly 60 % compared to the conventional gas-compression refrigerators (40 %). However high magnetic fields of above 2 T are required.
- Magnetocaloric Materials are certain materials in which application and removal of a magnetic field causes the materials to become warmer or cooler.
What you need to know about the Magnetocaloric Material for Cancer Treatment?
NEED FOR THE DEVELOPPMENT
- Advancements in magnetic materials led to the development of magnetic hyperthermia to try to address the issues of side effects of cancer treatment like chemotherapy.
- In magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic nanoparticles are subjected to alternating magnetic fields of few Gauss, which produce heat due to magnetic relaxation losses.
- Usually, the temperature required to kill the tumor cells is between 40 and 45°C. However, the drawback in magnetic hyperthermia is the lack of control of temperature, which may damage the healthy cells in the body and also have side effects like increased blood pressure etc.
- These problems can be avoided by using magnetocaloric materials, as it can provide controlled heating.
ADVANTAGE OF USING MAGNETOCALORIC MATERIALS
The major advantage of magnetocaloric materials which heat up or cool down with the application and removal of the magnetic field, respectively is that as soon as the magnetic field is removed, cooling effect is generated, unlike in magnetic nanoparticles where overheating persists, even after removal of the magnetic field.
This method, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy, would reduce the side effects, damage caused to the human body and also reduce the treatment time of cancer tumours.
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