AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” Is Being Used In Cancer Research

There are some things you just can’t make up. The kinds of things that make you sit back in your chair and just mouth “What the fuck?” Sentences like “Australian hard rock legends AC/DC being used to treat cancer” is one such thing. When I saw that this was something that existed in the world, I couldn’t resist. I had so many questions: How? Why? Has science gone too far?

Needless to say, I was intrigued.

Researchers at the University of South Australia have been using Thunderstruck to adapt the way that the chemotherapy-related drug Camptothecin (say it five times fast, I dare you) is delivered to patients. The track is being used to vibrate microparticles of the drug, which allows a thin polymer (plastic, but I like using science-y words) coating to be applied, increasing the time taken for the drug to reach the patient. Basically, the track is being used to make the drug kick cancer’s ass faster.

If you’re feeling like a more in-depth look at the research, there’s a paper which can be read here (warning, super science-y). Currently, it’s just a proof-of-concept, but sounds promising, and may lead to it being used in other areas of drug delivery.


Image: Stereogum

In a recent interview with The Lead South Australia, Professor Nico Voelcker (one of the researchers on the project) explained the choice of music:

“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.”

“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.”

So that’s really cool! Although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed to hear no mention of electroshock therapy, but it’s probably for the best.

AC/DC are currently searching for a touring replacement for Brian Johnson, with rumours of Axl Rose being the man to step in. Personally, I’m still hoping for Pelle Almqvist of The Hives, because oh my god.

Image: ABC