Nanoparticle Therapy
For patients with a “low-risk” and “intermediate-risk” localized prostate cancer, there is active research into developing new methods of treatment that may be simpler and may have less long-term side effects compared to standard treatments. MagForce USA is developing a new approach to treating localized prostate cancer using its nanotechnology-base thermal ablation system. This system consists primarily of two components -- the NanoTherm™ Liquid and the NanoActivator® Device. Both components are investigational, meaning they have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness, and are undergoing a clinical study (The MagForce® Prostate Cancer Study) to evaluate them.
The NanoTherm™ Liquid
The centerpiece of the MagForce thermal ablative therapy is the NanoTherm™ Liquid. It contains billions of very small particles (nanoparticles) of iron oxide that are 500 times smaller than a red blood cell. A key property of the nanoparticles is that they act like tiny bar magnets when exposed to an external magnetic field. If the nanoparticles are exposed to a magnetic field that is rapidly changing, they flip back-and-forth intensely, and heat is generated. Another key property of the nanoparticles is the special silica coating that helps the nanoparticles clump together and remain inside the prostate cancer lesion after being injected into it.
The NanoActivator® Device
After the NanoTherm™ nanoparticles are injected into a prostate cancer lesion, they need to be “activated” in order to generate the heat that is intended to kill the cancer cells. This is done by a specially designed machine built by MagForce called the NanoActivator® device. The NanoActivator® device is designed to generate a rapidly changing (or oscillating) magnetic field that causes the iron oxide nanoparticles to intensely vibrate and create heat in the tissues surrounding it. This device, similar to an MRI machine, in that it uses magnetic fields, but instead of imaging the cancer, it is designed to kill (or thermally ablate) it. When not activated by the device, the nanoparticles remain inactivated and inert.
The NanoTherm™ Therapy
The first step in the process is to target the prostate cancer using a special type of MRI called a multi-parameteric MRI -- or mpMRI for short. The imaging data from the mpMRI will be downloaded into a special targeting software system and using ultrasound will be help target the location to inject the NanoTherm™ liquid. Once it is confirmed that the NanoTherm™ Liquid was installed in the proper location using a CT scanner, the patient is then placed in the NanoActivator® device. The magnetic field strength is slowly increased over a period of 15 minutes and once temperature inside the target area reaches 55 degrees Celsius, the treatment session is considered started. After 60 minutes of activation, the magnetic field is turned off and the temperatures within the prostate will return to normal and the therapy is considered complete.