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November 20th, 2007
Early this year Bhatia made headlines for her work in developing extremely tiny particles that mimic blood platelets -- a feat of engineering that someday could dramatically change cancer treatment.
"We've been interested in making nanoparticles that can detect tumors and deliver chemotherapy locally," says Bhatia. "Some people call it analogous to the movie "Fantastic Voyage" in which a submarine is miniaturized and injected into the bloodstream of a human body. "The idea sounds fantastical, but the technologies are there to do it."
Bhatia's Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies is trying to build microscopic particles that can repair and rebuild human tissue. Nanoparticles that mimic blood platelets are capable of homing in on tumors, then clumping around them. Potentially, the particles could coagulate into a big enough clot to choke the blood supply to the tumor, or they could deliver a payload of drugs, or they could help send an image to an MRI machine.
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