Saturday, March 26, 2011

NewScientist: Nanoparticle capsule keeps tabs on tumours

It looks as if there is finally a sure way of monitoring the proliferation of mutated cancer in the body. The invention occurred at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT as it is commonly known. A small capsule, nanometers long  has been devised which does not involve any invasive procedures such as ionising radiation or even surgical treatments. This small device can simply be injected into the bloodstream like any normal vaccination. The nanoparticle contains engineered proteins present on its surface that bind with specific molecules such as human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a hormone that tumour cells overproduce in testicular and ovarian cancer.

 The only way to detect such a capsule is by using a MRI scanner which has caused some dilemma among the medical community since such devices are expensive to obtain. The prospect of having a handheld scanner would be much more appealing. The nanocapsules have been successfully tested on mice although not on humans. Another problem is how to distinguish between regrowing cells and tumour cells since they produce the exact same hormones. But, as the scientific community has shown over the last few decades it is much easier to solve a problem if it didn't even occur in the first place. The same applies towards cancer. Prevention is the key, my dear world.


Maciek said...

Good post Lucas !