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February 26th, 2007
By injecting quantum dots into tumors, investigators at Carnegie Mellon University have been able to image sentinel lymph nodes in animals using near-infrared light. These results could lead to a simple, non-invasive method for detecting metastasis.
Reporting its work in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, a research team headed by Byron Ballou, Ph.D., used polymer-coated, water-soluble quantum dots to map the lymph nodes that drain tumors in mouse models of human cancer. In many types of cancer, metastatic lesions first appear in these lymph nodes, which are why they are known as sentinel lymph nodes. In these experiments, the investigators injected the quantum dots directly into the tumors and then tracked the quantum dots through the skin using near-infrared fluorescence microscopy.
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