technical paper

MMM 2022

November 07, 2022

Minneapolis, United States

Beyond conventional neurostimulation: effects of TMS like magnetic fields on cells and nanomaterials and their potential applications in oncology and regenerative medicine

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) 1 is a non-invasive pain-free medical technology clinically approved for treatment of drug-resistant depression 2, 3. TMS uses pulsed magnetic fields to induce eddy currents 4 in the brain. The biological mechanism of rTMS effects is tought to be mostly relying on the long-lasting changes of the neuronal excitability and the brain functional plasticity, respoectively 5. However, the effects of TMS-like fields on non-neuronal cells and artificial systems are almost unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the potential of repetitive magnetic stimulation (RMS) performed by TMS devices in oncology, controllable drug release and regenerative medicine applications. Using a standard TMS device “Magstim Rapid2”, we examined effects of >30 experimental regimes of RMS on viability and phenotype of various tumour (glioblastoma, pancreatic, liver, colorectal 6 and breast cancers) and immune cells (microglia and macrophages). We also tested the effect of RMS on drug release from polymer nanoparticles and reactive oxygen species generation (ROSG) in cancer and immune cells. Finally, we examined the combined effects of RMS and drugs targeting tissue growth. RMS selectively modulated viability and functional polarisation of microglia and macrophages in a frequency/intensity-dependent manner and affected the proliferation/viability of cancer cells (cancer type, frequency- and pulse number-dependent up- and downregulation). RMS induced triggering of drug release from nanoparticles, enhancement of ROSG and additive drug effects. Our pioneering findings demonstrate the potential of TMS technology repurposing for immunomodulation, cancer treatment, and drugs and nanomedicines treatment. We thank Sydney Vital (for seed grant) and Medilink Australia (for providing the “Magstim”). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Macquarie University FMHHS Laboratory Operations Team. A.G. is thankful for support of her work by the Macquarie University Research Fellowship.


  1. A. T. Barker, R. Jalinous, and I. L. Freeston, "Non-invasive magnetic stimulation of human motor cortex," Lancet, vol. 1, no. 8437, pp. 1106-7, May 11 1985, doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(85)92413-4.
  2. A. T. Barker, I. L. Freeston, R. Jalinous, and J. A. Jarratt, "Magnetic stimulation of the human brain and peripheral nervous system: an introduction and the results of an initial clinical evaluation," Neurosurgery, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 100-9, Jan 1987, doi: 10.1097/00006123-198701000-00024.
  3. P. M. Rossini et al., "Non-invasive electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain, spinal cord, roots and peripheral nerves: Basic principles and procedures for routine clinical and research application. An updated report from an I.F.C.N. Committee," Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 126, no. 6, pp. 1071-1107, Jun 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.02.001.
  4. M. Hallett, "Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain," Nature, vol. 406, no. 6792, pp. 147-50, Jul 13 2000, doi: 10.1038/35018000.
  5. J. P. Lefaucheur et al., "Evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)," (in English), Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 125, no. 11, pp. 2150-2206, Nov 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.05.021.
  6. B. Heng, S. B. Ahn and A. Guller, "TMS-like Magnetic Fields Modulate Metabolic Activity of Hepatic and Colorectal Cancer Cells." IEEE Transactions on Magnetics: 1-1, doi: 10.1109/tmag.2022.3147219.


Transcript English (automatic)

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