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    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    Quantum Mechanics: A New Frontier in Cancer Treatment

    ByByron Bekker

    Nov 11, 2023
    Quantum Mechanics: A New Frontier in Cancer Treatment

    Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK have made a ground-breaking discovery in the field of oncology. By harnessing the power of electromagnetic fields through miniature bio-nanoantennae, they have found a way to trigger the self-destruction of cancer cells, particularly glioblastoma cells, a notoriously difficult-to-treat form of cancer.

    Lead researcher Dr. Frankie Rawson explains that cancer cells, including glioblastoma cells, possess electrical activity that is crucial to their rapid proliferation. The team’s insight was to manipulate these electrical pathways to potentially impede or eliminate cancer cells. However, until now, there was no technology available to precisely target these pathways and exert control over cell growth or the eradication of cancer cells.

    The bio-nanoantennae, which are similar in size to intracellular molecules, act as miniature batteries, allowing the researchers to introduce electricity into the cancer cells and trigger apoptosis, or cell death. By employing electromagnetic fields, the researchers were able to regulate electron transfer within cytochrome C, a protein involved in the initiation of apoptosis. This groundbreaking concept allowed them to exert precise control over the donation of electrons, triggering apoptosis in the cancer cells.

    Notably, the researchers discovered that the effect was specific to glioblastoma cells and did not impact healthy astrocytes. This suggests that the pathways targeted by the technology only exist in cancer cells, further highlighting the potential of this approach. However, more research is needed to fully understand the intricacies of this mechanism.

    In a surprising finding, the researchers also discovered that the intracellular electricity generation relies on a quantum mechanical effect known as quantum biological tunneling. This effect allows the movement of electrons away from the bio-nanoantennae through biological barriers to initiate apoptosis. This quantum biological tunneling is crucial in activating the signal that leads to cell death. The researchers describe this approach as a “quantum therapy” because it utilizes quantum phenomena to achieve its effect.

    While there is still a long road ahead, the researchers have taken important steps towards translating this groundbreaking research into practical applications. They have filed a patent and secured funding from the UK Medical Research Council to conduct early proof-of-concept experiments in vivo. The next phase involves refining the stimulation device for in vivo applications, improving the delivery system for the bio-nanoantennae, and conducting clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this approach.

    This research, published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up exciting possibilities for the future of cancer treatment. By utilizing quantum mechanics and electromagnetic fields, scientists are bringing a fresh perspective to the field of oncology and paving the way for more targeted and effective therapies.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What is glioblastoma?

    Glioblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in the brain and spinal cord. It is highly aggressive and difficult to treat.

    What are bio-nanoantennae?

    Bio-nanoantennae are miniature devices that enter cells and act as batteries, allowing researchers to introduce electricity into the cells and trigger apoptosis.

    What is apoptosis?

    Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death. It plays a crucial role in eliminating damaged or unwanted cells in the body.

    What is quantum biological tunneling?

    Quantum biological tunneling is a quantum mechanical effect that allows the movement of electrons through biological barriers. In this research, it enables the initiation of apoptosis in cancer cells.

    How close is this technology to being used in clinics?

    While promising, this technology is still in the early stages of development. The researchers have taken initial steps towards clinical applications, but more research, refinement, and clinical trials are needed to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this approach.