May 04, 2016
All of you probably know Bernhard Gleich, Jürgen Weizenecker and team who invented the Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) technique. We now have a chance of helping them to win the European Inventor Award 2017 in the industry section. Please go to
and vote for them. Would be great if we can help them to win this prestigious award!
And by the way, the video that they made about MPI and the possibilities of this technique in the future is very impressive, well worth the 6 minutes it takes to watch it!
April 15, 2016
EPFL researchers together with the University Hospital in Geneva have developed a shoe sole with valves that electronically control the pressure applied to the arch of the foot, aiming at preventing foot ulcers commonly caused by diabetes. The sole has around 50 small electromagnetic valves filled with magnetorheological material. The viscosity of the material, which is made up of suspended iron microparticles, can be controlled by applying a magnetic field. The particles react immediately and align themselves with the field, causing the material to change from liquid to solid state in a fraction of a second. The system should not only help the wounds heal quickly but also prevent the onset of new ulcers. Every year, 250'000 diabetics have a leg amputated in Europe alone, mainly because of foot ulcers.
February 04, 2016
This fiery ring is actually a layer of iron oxide on a 500-nm-wide silicate particle. Researchers at the University of Texas, Dallas, created this image while using transmission electron microscopy to look at the distribution of iron oxide inside the nanoshell; brighter colors in the image represent higher concentrations. The nanoshells are being developed as a contrast agent for real-time Doppler imaging of tumors during surgery (Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201500610). This image won a 2015 scientific image contest put on by JEOL, an imaging and spectroscopic instrument maker.
February 03, 2016
Computers perform complex calculations using billions of tiny electronic switches called transistors, which are organized into circuits and memory. Replacing these transistors with magnetic switches could enable more energy-efficient computers. Magnets have shown their worth in energy-efficient memory technologies, but they haven’t been used for processing. Researchers have now demonstrated that this is possible, combining low-power magnetic switches to perform a simple information processing step (Nano Lett. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04205).
On a computer chip, each transistor can be switched between an on and off state, encoding a 0 or a 1—known as a bit. Nanomagnets can be switched between two states, too. One way to do this is to apply an electric field to flip the magnetic field’s orientation, but that takes 1,000 times as much energy as switching an electronic transistor, says Jayasimha Atulasimha, a mechanical engineer at Virginia Commonwealth University.
But another approach to switching the nanomagnet’s field is to apply a mechanical stress. This has been used to demonstrate magnet-based computer memory. Putting the magnets under strain to do the switching requires just one-hundredth the energy of a conventional transistor.
Atulasimha’s group wanted to demonstrate that these low-power, strain-gated nanomagnets could be used for information processing, not just memory. So Atulasimha and colleagues made a device that uses multiple nanomagnets to carry out a simple information processing problem. They deposited cobalt disks about 200 nm across onto a 0.5-cm-thick layer of a piezoelectric material called PMN-PT. A small electric field causes the piezoelectric layer to expand or contract, depending on the design. This pulls on or compresses the nanomagnet, changing its shape slightly, and flips the orientation of the magnetic field. Turning off the field flips it back.
The group used a chain of three nanomagnets to make a basic logic device called a NOT gate, one of the essential elements for doing digital computation. It’s nowhere near the full complement of logic operations needed to make a computer, but an important first step. Their magnetic logic device uses about 450 attojoules per operation. The researchers calculate that future systems using smaller nanomagnets and a thinner piezoelectric layer would use only 1 attojoule per operation.
January 28, 2016
A technique that combines gene therapy and magnets could someday provide a new tool for treating cardiovascular disease, which puts millions of lives at risk every year. Prof. Daniela Wenzel et al. at the University of Bonn have produced cells that carry magnetic nanoparticles linked to a therapeutic gene. With an external magnet to direct the cells, the researchers used them to repair damaged arteries in mice (ACS Nano 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b04996).
The researchers packaged genes coding for a green fluorescent protein and a nitric oxide-synthesizing enzyme within a viral vector, commonly used to deliver genetic material into cells. They linked the vectors to magnetic, silica-iron oxide nanoparticles, and loaded the vector-nanoparticle combo into endothelial cells. The researchers then injected these engineered cells into the carotid arteries of mice where the endothelial cells within those vessels had been removed. In half of the animals, they placed a magnet over the treatment site for 30 minutes. Two days later, the arteries of animals exposed to magnets showed green fluorescing cells attached to their inner surfaces, covering at least half of the circumference. In the other animals, blood flow had swept the introduced cells out of the arteries and deposited them in the brain.
Isometric force measurements on removed carotid arteries showed that the magnetically treated arteries were able to contract and expand, while the untreated arteries could not, showing that the grafted cells were doing their job producing nitric oxide.
January 07, 2016
Magnetic hyperthermia is still looking for explanations how it exactly works and what magnetic nanoparticles are best. That is clearly visible from the recently published paper by Dennis, Ivkov et al. in the journal of Advanced Functional Materials 2015, 25, 4300-4311.
The influence of internal nanoparticle (intracore) magnetic domain structure on relaxation remains unexplored. Within the context of potential biomedical applications, this study focuses on the dramatic differences observed among the specific loss power of three magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle constructs having comparable size and chemical composition. Analysis of polarization analyzed small angle neutron scattering data reveals unexpected and complex coupling among magnetic domains within the nanoparticle cores that influences their interactions with external magnetic fields. These results challenge the prevailing concepts in hyperthermia which limit consideration to size and shape of magnetic single domain nanoparticles.
December 17, 2015
ZURICH, Switzerland, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Researchers found a type of electromagnetic field can prolong survival in brain tumor patients who have already been treated with chemotherapy, according to a new study.
Tumor-treating fields -- low-intensity, intermediate-frequency alternating electric fields delivered with transducer arrays applied to a patient's shaved scalp -- have previously demonstrated an anti-tumor effect in background studies, leading researchers at the University of Zurich to test the treatment with glioblastoma patients.
Glioblastoma is a fast-growing tumor affecting the brain or nervous system that is difficult to treat, with most patients dying within a year or two of diagnosis. According to researchers, all attempts at improving outcomes for patients in large clinical trials have failed, leading them to test the combination treatment in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Early trials by a company that markets a TTFields device, Novocure Ltd., showed promise, leading researchers to test it with patients, Dr. John Sampson, a researchers at Duke University, wrote in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association with the study.
Doctors at 83 medical centers in Europe, Canada, Israel, South Korea and the United States worked with researchers at the University of Zurich to recruit 695 glioblastoma patients, treating 466 with TTFields and the chemotherapy temozolomide and 229 with temozolomide alone. Patients who received TTFields were exposed to them for about 18 h per day using four transducer arrays placed on their scalp and Novocure's portable device. All of the participants received temozolomide for 5 days in each 28-day treatment cycle.
Ending the trial based on results from an interim analysis, median progression-free survival was 7.1 months in the group receiving TTFields, as opposed to four months in the group receiving only temozolomide. "Given the survival benefit reported in this study, it should now be a priority to understand the scientific basis for the efficacy of TTFields," Sampson wrote. "Achieving this may require the development of robust and widely available large animal models for glioblastoma, which do not currently exist."
December 04, 2015
A review article about the area of magnetic particle hyperthermia just appeared in Applied Physics Review: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4935688. A predictable success of this review in the community can be inferred from its comprehensiveness.
Specifically, Gauvin Hemery and Dr Olivier Sandre (Univ. Bordeaux) were in charge of reviewing the chemical synthesis and coating requirements and methods of magnetic nanoparticles (within the view of good medical practice and scaled-up production to conduct medical assays); Dr Daniel Ortega (iMdea nanoscience, Madrid) described the existing physical models of magnetic hyperthermia (MH) and the current research to improve them; Dr Eneko Garaio and Pr Fernando Plazaola (UPV-EHU, Bilbao) listed the different types of devices (magnetic inductors, generators, resonant circuits…) to address the needs of standardization of preclinical assays (on rodents) in academic laboratories and industries, and ultimately for medical assays (on humans); Dr Francisco Teran (iMdea nanoscience, Madrid) focused on the modifications and biological fate of magnetic nanoparticles when injected to cells and tissues, which is mandatory to know to relate in intro and in vivo MH experiments; and finally, Dr Périgo (Univ. Luxembourg) was in charge of coordinating all the parts (writing the introduction/conclusion and of transitions, homogenizing notations, etc…), and last but not least, of managing the scientific discussion between specialists of different fields.
Several companies are involved in the MH area, among which we can cite: MagForce™ (Berlin, Germany), NanoTherics™ (Newcastle, UK, enterprise co-founded by a faculty of the University of Florida, Pr Jon Dobson), Resonant Circuits™ (London, UK spin-off company of University College London), nanoScale Biomagnetics™ (Zaragoza, Spain)… This study benefited from the collaborative framework of the European COST action TD1402 on "Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Magnetic Hyperthermia and Indirect Radiation Therapy" (RADIOMAG).
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