Magazine article ASEE Prism

New Way to Trace Cancer

Magazine article ASEE Prism

New Way to Trace Cancer

Article excerpt

WHEN CANCER CELLS metastasize,they often hitch a ride through the lymph system, which collects fluids that drain from tissues.To test if cancer cells have spread, blue dye and radioactive material are injected near a tumor to locate the closest lymph node. It's then surgically removed, in a process that is both risky and time-consuming. Now, working with experts at the school's cancer center, bioengineer Stanislave Emelianov at the University of Texas, Austin, is testing a new method to determine if metastasis has occurred, using a laser, ultrasound and light-sensitive gold-based nanoparticles. If it works, a quick, noninvasive diagnosis could be made at a doctor's office. Backed by a $ 1.3 million National Institutes of Health grant, the Austin team is engineering the gold nanoparticles to glom onto specific proteins found in head and neck cancers. Once clumped together, the nanoparticles will absorb the red in a laser light's color spectrum. …

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