Letter to the Editor

Re: Lyndon Gommersall, Iqbal S. Shergill, Hashim U. Ahmed et al. Nanotechnology and Its Relevance to the Urologist. Eur Urol 2007;52:368–75

By: Manfred Johannsena lowast , Andreas Jordanb, Peter Wustc and Stefan A. Loeninga

European Urology, Volume 53 Issue 4, April 2008

Published online: 01 April 2008

Abstract Full Text Full Text PDF (41 KB)

Refers to article:

Nanotechnology and Its Relevance to the Urologist

Lyndon Gommersall, Iqbal S. Shergill, Hashim U. Ahmed, Dickon Hayne, Manit Arya, Hitendra R.H. Patel, Makoto Hashizume and Inderbir S. Gill

Accepted 20 April 2007

August 2007 (Vol. 52, Issue 2, pages 368 - 375)

In a recent review, Gommersall et al provided an interesting and comprehensive overview on nanotechnology and its applications in urology [1]. Nanotechnology is a rapidly evolving branch of science and has already had a tremendous impact on medicine in general, leading to new disciplines such as nanomedicine [2]. These developments and opportunities are certainly of interest for the urologist, for whom this review is intended. The authors present promising current and future clinical applications of nanoparticles and nanostructures in a wide range of fields such as imaging, diagnosis, cancer treatment, and tissue engineering.

Regarding cancer treatment, interesting in vitro and in vivo applications of nanotechnology in urology are mentioned by the authors, but there is an apparent lack of clinical studies using this exciting new technology for the treatment of urologic tumours in humans.

In this regard, it may be of interest for the readers that one particular application of nanotechnology has already been evaluated clinically to treat prostate cancer [3]. Recently, our group presented the results of a prospective phase 1 trial using biocompatible, superparamagnetic, coated nanoparticles for thermal therapy of locally recurrent prostate cancer [4] and [5]. In this approach, magnetic nanoparticles are heated in an alternating current magnetic field, allowing for contactless, selective thermal therapy of a given target area in any part of the body. In these first clinical applications of nanoparticles for thermal treatment of human cancer, the feasibility and tolerability of the technique could be demonstrated. Hyperthermic to thermoablative temperatures up to 55 °C could be achieved in the prostates at low magnetic field strengths. A method of thermal modelling based on computed tomography imaging of nanoparticle suspensions in the prostates was developed specifically for this treatment approach [4]. This method may be used for noninvasive thermometry and thermal dosimetry in future studies.

We hope that urologists will be encouraged by the review by Gommersall et al to pursue ideas incorporating nanotechnology to evaluate novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the benefit of patients with urologic cancers.

Conflicts of interest

Andreas Jordan is a manager at MagForce® Nanotechnologies AG, Berlin, Germany. The other authors declare that they do not have any affiliations that would lead to conflict of interest.


  • [1] L. Gommersall, I.S. Shergill, H.U. Ahmed, et al. Nanotechnology and its relevance to the urologist. Eur Urol. 2007;52:368-375 Crossref
  • [2] R.A. Freitas Jr. What is nanomedicine?. Dis Mon. 2005;51:325-341
  • [3] M. Johannsen, U. Gneveckow, L. Eckelt, et al. Clinical hyperthermia of prostate cancer using magnetic nanoparticles: presentation of a new interstitial technique. Int J Hyperthermia. 2005;21:637-647 Crossref
  • [4] M. Johannsen, U. Gneveckow, B. Thiesen, et al. Thermotherapy of prostate cancer using magnetic nanoparticles: feasibility, imaging, and three-dimensional temperature distribution. Eur Urol. 2007;52:1653-1662 Crossref
  • [5] M. Johannsen, U. Gneveckow, K. Taymoorian, et al. Morbidity and quality of life during thermotherapy using magnetic nanoparticles in locally recurrent prostate cancer: results of a prospective phase I trial. Int J Hyperthermia. 2007;23:315-323 Crossref


a Department of Urology, Campus Mitte, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany

b MagForce Nanotechnologies AG, Berlin, Germany

c Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany

Corresponding author. Department of Urology, Campus Mitte, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Tel. +49 30 450615163; Fax: +49 30 450515915.

Place a comment

Your comment *

max length: 5000