AC/DC's 1990 song "Thunderstruck" improves the effect of camphothecin, an anti-cancer drug. No kidding.
In particular, playing the song while preparing the cancer drug forces the medicine particles to spring up and down. This movement enables the researchers to coat them with plasma shells that prevent them from breaking down faster.
The medicine particles in the study are porous. In essence, they are like micro sponges that researchers need to fill with a drug. These micro participles need a coating to prevent the drug inside from escaping.
Prior to the discovery, scientists could only coat one side of the medicine particle, the one which is exposed. Scientists do this by igniting plasma on the exposed surface. A one-side coating causes the drug to break down faster and make them last longer while circulating the human system.
"That is where we came up with the idea of using a loudspeaker that we would play into the system," said Professor Nico Voelcker from the University of South Australia.
This technique makes the particles vibrate and bounce, enabling the scientists to give them a consistent plasma shell coating.
"The overcoating resulted in a markedly slower release of the drug, and this effect correlated positively with the plasma polymer coating times, ranging from twofold up to more than 100-fold," said the team.
Voelcker said the new method can have potential new applications in various drug preparations. The research was published in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Good Vibrations: The Sound Of Music's Calming Effect
This isn't the first time a rock song has been found to have unexpected benefits. In a previous study, a marine tour worker in Australia found that sharks become calmer when AC/DC's "Back In Black" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" were played in the underwater speakers.
"They actually came past in a couple of occasions when we had the speaker in the water and rubbed their face along the speaker which was really bizarre," shared Matt Waller.
Further investigation revealed that the songs helped the sharks become more inquisitive and significantly less aggressive.
Photo: Thomas Leuthard | Flickr