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December 16th, 2009
Can we diagnose and destroy cancer in one sitting?
"Some of the most essential questions in nanomedicine today are about biodistribution--where particles go inside the body and how they get there," says Naomi Halas, a nanomedicine pioneer at Rice University in Houstin, Texas, whose findings have just been published in Advanced Functional Materials. "Noninvasive tests for biodistribution will be enormously useful on the path to FDA approval, and this technique--adding MRI functionality to the particle you're testing and using for therapy--is a very promising way of doing this."
The all-in-one particles are modeled on nanoshells, a cancer treatment Halas invented in the '90s that are now in human clinical trials. The shells harvest laser light that would typically pass through the body harmlessly and convert that light into heat that destroys cancerous cells.
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