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June 29th, 2009
It's the stuff of science fiction novels, with "smart motherships" patrolling the body for diseased cells and "nanoworms" sneaking unnoticed through the bloodstream.
Doctors might use nanotech devices, for instance, to identify and monitor tumors just starting to develop, to hunt and kill those tumors without harming healthy cells or to sense how much drug is present in the body.
Biologist Andrew Kummel leads another team of government-funded UCSD researchers who are studying breast cancer tumors using a Band-Aid-like technique. By rubbing the surgically removed tumor with a kind of sticky slide, researchers can determine whether any cancerous cells remain along the tumor's edges, a sign there's more cancer to remove nearby.
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