AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ used in promising research on cancer drug delivery

The vibrations from the track have allowed researchers to add a polymer coating to drug micro particles

AC/DC hit ‘Thunderstruck’ has been used to help adapt the delivery of chemotherapy-related drug Camptothecin by scientists are the University of South Australia.

The track was used to provide vibrations, bouncing microparticles of the drug and allowing a thin polymer (plastic) coating to be applied. This increased the time taken for the drug to be released (by a factor of between two and 100), improving delivery direct to cancer cells. It’s thought the research could also be used in other areas of drug delivery.

The paper on the subject – which can be read here – is a ‘proof of concept’, titled ‘Thunderstruck: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As a Controlled Drug Delivery System’.


The Lead South Austrailia have interviewed one of the researchers, Professor Nico Voelcker, who said:

“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.”

“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.”


“Plasma is the fourth stage of matter, it is an ionised gas,” Prof Voelcker added, in explaining the track choice.

“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.”


“We only tried this with a chemotherapy drug that we use for the treatment of cancer because you can visualise it so easily,” Volcker concluded. “We might end up using different types of drugs; we might use drugs that are anti-inflammatory or antibiotic. It was just one model application for us.”

Given former guitarist Malcolm Young’s successful battle with Lung Cancer and subsequent retirement in 2014, the track’s use seems particularly apt.

The band are currently thought to be looking for a touring replacement for Brian Johnson, who has hearing problems, with Axl Rose amongst the rumoured replacements.

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