New research has found out that electromagnetic fields might help prevent the spreading of some breast cancers to other parts of the body. Low intensity electromagnetic fields impeded the mobility of specific breast cancer cells “by preventing the formation of long, thin extensions at the edge of a migrating cancer cell”.
The research was done on cells in a lab, and the concept hasn’t yet been tested in animals or humans. The study was published today in the journal Communications Biology.
“A cancer cell has a tendency to do the most destructive thing imaginable,” said Jonathan Song, lead author of the study. Song is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The Ohio State University and a member of the molecular biology and cancer genetics program at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
That ability to not only proliferate locally but spread throughout the body is what makes cancer so devastating — and what prompted the research team to examine individual cancer cells to understand what makes them so harmful, Song said.
“One very destructive thing these cells do is migrate to distant areas of the body,” he said. “And what we learned here is that it seems by treating them with a certain class of electric field we are altering their potential to spread somehow.”
The research team, which included engineers and cancer biologists, found that cancer cells appeared to sense both the presence of the electromagnetic fields, and also the direction from which the fields were coming.
More details of the study over Ohio State News.
(Image Credit: Dr. Lance Liotta Laboratory/ Wikimedia Commons)