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Cancer, drugs and rock’n’roll

April 8, 2016

While exploring ways to coat microparticles with a plasma polymer, researchers at the University of South Australia came across a novel way to succeed.

Researchers at the University’s Future Industries Institute discovered that playing the classic Australian rock song Thunderstruck by AC/DC through a loud speaker, caused the porous silicon microparticles, which were packed with a chemotherapy drug called camptothecin, to vibrate in a vacuum.

The musical vibrations increased the surface area of the particles, which enabled the applications of the plasma polymer overlay. The polymer overlay is used to prevent the drug from escaping from the porous microparticles, effectively increasing the drug’s therapeutic window.

Senior author, Professor Nico Voelcker, described the process as an optimal way of coating the microparticles as resting particles on a surface would result in only one side of the particles being coated.

<img class="size-full wp-image-3905" src="https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA.jpg?resize=453%2C322&ssl=1" alt="Professor Nico Voelcker UNI SA" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA.jpg?w=453&ssl=1 453w, https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA.jpg?resize=300%2C213&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA.jpg?resize=141%2C100&ssl=1 141w, https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA cialis online overnight delivery.jpg?resize=50%2C36&ssl=1 50w, https://i1.wp.com/news.cancerresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2016/04/MI-Nico-Voelcker-courtesy-of-Uni-SA.jpg?resize=75%2C53&ssl=1 75w” sizes=”(max-width: 453px) 100vw, 453px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Professor Nico Voelcker

“We would tune that loudspeaker to a song so that it would vibrate and the particles would bounce up and down. The chaotic frequencies worked well and gave a more homogenous coating,” said Professor Voelcker.

Hard rock hits home

As to the choice of song, both lyrically and musically, Thunderstruck hits the right note compared to more ambient or easy listening music.

“We found that hardrock worked particularly well, but the song Thunderstruck was chosen because the coating was done in a plasma, and thunder is an example of a plasma as well,” Prof Voelcker said.

Professor Voelcker said that coating the microparticles was a challenging but essential task to ensure the optimal amount of a drug was delivered to the cancer cell.

“It’s a technique that could also be potentially used in other treatments, involving coatings and drugs,” Professor Voelcker concluded.

‘Thunderstruck: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As A Controlled Drug Delivery System” was first published in the American Chemistry Society.

N.B. The frequency mix and amplitude of Thunderstruck were perfectly suited for coating these micro particles. A different tune might produce optimal results for different particle specifications. While waiting for further research, ACRF is happy to add Thunderstruck on our playlist of scientifically verified cancer beating tunes.

Image of Professor Voelcker courtesy of The University of South Australia.

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