A research team at the University of South Australia is finding that playing loud rock music during chemotherapy treatment has been effective at improving the efficiency of the drug. The song that they've been using is AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."

According to the Lead, the vibrations caused by the music cause silicon micro particles carrying the chemotherapy drug camptothecin to bounce. As a result, it covers the cancerous cell more evenly and creates a plasma polymer overlay that prevents the drug from escaping.

“Normally we would ignite a plasma onto the surface," Professor Nico Voelcker said. "The problem with doing that is you only form the coating on one side of the particle, the side that is exposed. But the side of the particle on the surface, the other side, is not going to get coated. That is where we came up with the idea of using a loud speaker that we would play into the system. We would turn that loudspeaker to a song that it would vibrate and the particles would bounce up and down. The chaotic frequencies worked well and gave you a more homogenous coating.”

Playing the music significantly improved the time it took for the plasma polymer to coat the cell. They chose "Thunderstruck" because of its rhythms and the title had a connection to their work. “Plasma is the fourth stage of matter, it is an ionised gas,” Voelcker continued. "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.”

The paper Voelcker and his colleagues wrote about their work, “Thunderstruck”: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As a Controlled Drug Delivery System, was published in the American Chemistry Society. Their next step is to see where their findings lead them in other areas.

“We only tried this with a chemotherapy drug that we use for the treatment of cancer because you can visualise it so easily," Voelcker continued. "We might end up using different types of drugs; we might use drugs that are anti-inflammatory or antibiotic. It was just one model application for us. We have done some work with cells and now we will move on to the next stage of research.”

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