Guess Which AC/DC Song Scientists Use to Make Cancer Treatment Drugs More Effective?

Apr 04 2016

Guess Which AC/DC Song Scientists Use to Make Cancer Treatment Drugs More Effective?

In “Thunderstruck,” AC/DC singer Brian Johnson wails about rolling through Texas, meeting some ladies, and, in typical AC/DC fashion, being shaken by them: “I was shaking at the knees, Could I come again please!”

Well, now AC/DC are the ones shaking things up—molecularly.

Researchers at the University of South Australia found that a chemotherapy treatment became more effective when they blasted AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck during administration of the drug. The way it works is fascinating: The loud music causes the micro particles that deliver the drug camptothecin to vibrate, allowing for a more thorough coating by a plasma that keeps the drug intact. This results in a more efficient delivery. Researchers explained their strategy in The Lead:

“The micro particles are porous, basically they are like a sponge. You fill them up with a drug, but of course you want to prevent the drug from escaping, and that is why we create the coating,” said Senior research author Professor Nico Volcker.

“Normally we would ignite a plasma onto the surface. 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.”

For their study they settled on “Thunderstruck” because it was upbeat, rhymes, and also additional complicated scientific reasons. “Plasma is the fourth stage of matter, it is an ionized gas,” Prof Voelcker said.

“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.”

Watch Thunderstruck.