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Jim Stogdill sent this to the O’Reilly Radar mailing list:

I caught this on 60 Minutes the other night and it struck me as the ultimate MAKE challenge. Guy designs his own RF therapy and machine to try to battle his leukemia. He didn’t win, but looks like the tech holds real promise and is being pursued as a real and viable cancer treatment using RF to stimulate tumor-seeking gold nano particles.

[Thanks, Jim!]

The Kanzius Machine

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • withallduerespect

    there’s no real use for this, you have to inject the gold particles into each individual cancer cell. At this point why not just use poison to kill that cell? This is a real round about way of doing it.

    • swild

      A treatment that requires spot injections would be rather slow, however the advantage over chemotherapy and even radiation is reduced collateral damage. Chemo itself is very harmful.

      Some science magazine or another highlighted this treatment, and described a process in which nanoparticles were injected into circulation and would build up only on their target tumors. Then RF would heat the particles, killing the tumors.

  • Deektec

    They did not explain it very well in the story, but they are actually manufacturing the gold nanoparticles bonded with a molecule that the cancer cells recognize and allow to enter through the cell wall.

    Think of it kind of like when you go through a door that requires you to swipe an electronic badge before the door will open. If you don’t have a badge, you can’t get in because it does not recognize you. Give you a keycard, a specially desinged molecule in this case, and the door swings wide open for you.

    By specifically engineering these gold nanoparticle/key molecule combinations to only be recognized by cancer cells you can simply inject the particles into the blood stream where they will circulate and be shut out of healthy cells and absorbed by only the cancerous cells they have a key to. You just make the gold particles “taste” good to only the cancer cells and set them loose in the blood stream for the cancer cells to “eat” while they are ignored by the healthy cells.

    Once they collect enough gold in them, ZAP! You have the cellular equivalent of a polish sausage left too long in the microwave with only the cancer cells that absorbed the gold particles dying.

  • Anonymous

    One thing I didn’t understand is what happens to the gold particles after the treatment? Do they scatter around the body? Do they exit the body in some way? Is there a danger of them accumulating some place else?

    • jeff-o

      Hopefully, your body filters out the gold after a while. Otherwise you might get heavy metal poisoning…

      • Eric

        Gold is completely inert and does no harm to your body, especially in these small amounts. You can even eat gold leaf and it will do absolutely no harm to you (your wallet may feel the pain though).