Man builds machine to treat his own leukemia

Biohacking Science

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

12 thoughts on “Man builds machine to treat his own leukemia

  1. withallduerespect says:

    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.

    1. swild says:

      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.

  2. Deektec says:

    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.

  3. Anonymous says:

    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?

    1. jeff-o says:

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

      1. Eric says:

        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).

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance 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 to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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