A study of electromagnetic fields and their effect on cancer metastasis specifically focused on breast cancer cells, but its authors believe that the technology may have an impact on many types of highly metastatic cancers, including malignant mesothelioma. The research was conducted by scientists from the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The Ohio State University, and was published in the journal Bioelectricity.
Electricity May Slow Spread of Mesothelioma Cells
The researchers set out to determine whether electromagnetic fields could be used to fight the rapid spread of cancers like malignant mesothelioma. This ability to travel far from the point of the cancer’s origin is known as metastasis, and it is one of the things that makes the disease so deadly.
Unlike the much rarer malignant mesothelioma, breast cancer is an unfortunately common form of metastatic cancer, which is one reason why the study’s authors used its cells for their research. The study’s authors set out to determine whether metastasis could be slowed or stopped by exposing the cells to electromagnetic fields. According to Vish Subramaniam, senior author of the paper and a former professor at The Ohio State University, “We think we can hinder metastasis by applying these fields, but we also think it may be possible to even destroy tumors using this approach. That is unclear at this stage, but we are working on understanding that – how big should the electromagnetic field be, how close should it be to the tumor? Those are the next questions we hope to answer.”
Electromagnetic Fields Slow Cancer Cell Metabolism
In explaining the impact that the electromagnetic fields had on breast cancer cells, lead author Travis Jones compared it to standing in the path of a group of runners who are all running together. He said that the electromagnetism made some of the cancer cells slow down. “It makes some of them stop for a little while before they start to move, slowly, again,” he said. “As a group, they appear to have split up. So how quickly the whole group is moving and for how long they are moving becomes affected.”
The group’s research is similar to that which introduced the tumor treating fields technology that is now approved for use on mesothelioma patients. Thus far the group has only tested their theory in the laboratory. Another researcher and co-author, Jonathan Song, explained that the electromagnetic fields impact cells’ metabolism in the same way that removing gasoline from a car would. “Take away the fuel, and the car cannot move anymore,” he said. For mesothelioma patients, the research is particularly exciting, as it suggests that their cancer could be slowed or stopped without having to undergo surgery.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on innovative treatment options, we can help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.