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How AC/DC is rocking cancer therapy

Norbert Sparrow

April 4, 2016

2 Min Read
How AC/DC is rocking cancer therapy

When I saw an article about researchers playing the song “Thunderstruck” by Australian rockers AC/DC to achieve a uniform plasma-based polymer coating on silicon micro particles used in drug delivery, I immediately looked at the date. I mean, it is the beginning of April. Sure enough: The Lead, a website that traffics in “news leads from South Australia,” published the piece on April 1. Aha! But upon further investigation, I discovered, much to my surprise (and delight), that the story is, in fact, legit. The researchers at the University of South Australia published a paper in Applied Materials & Interfaces, a journal from the American Chemical Society, on Feb. 24, 2016: "Thunderstruck: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As a Controlled Drug Delivery System.”

The AC/DC song blasting through the speakers apparently causes the microparticles to “tumble,” thus ensuring that the Teflon-like coating, which encapsulates the anti-cancer drug camphothecin, is applied along the entire surface. “The overcoating resulted in a markedly slower release of the cytotoxic drug, and this effect correlated positively with the plasma polymer coating times,” write the researchers. The normal method, they explained to the Lead, is to ignite a plasma on the surface of the microparticles, but that only formed a coating on the side that was exposed. By getting them to form a mosh pit, if you will, all sides of the micro particle are exposed.

Thus far, the technique has only been used on anti-cancer drugs, but it may have applications on anti-inflammatory or antibiotic drugs, said senior research author Professor Nico Voelcker from the University of South Australia.

Of course, other pieces of music with “chaotic frequencies” would work just as well, but when you’re from Australia, well, you’ve gotta go with AC/DC. Plus, as Voelcker explained to the Lead, “We used a cold plasma, but an example of a hot plasma would be the rays of thunder. We ended up using “Thunderstruck” because we liked how it linked thunder and plasma gas.”

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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