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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


2.06.2004

Gold Nanospheres Target Tumors 

This news came out 3 or 4 months ago but it's worth reporting on again. Researchers at Rice University and the U of Texas have devloped a new technology using gold-plated nanospheres to specifically destroy tumor cells.
Jennifer West, associate professor of bioengineering at Rice University, and colleagues demonstrate that “nanoshells”—nanometer-scale spheres of electrically inert silica coated with a thin layer of gold—can, when irradiated with near infrared (NIR) light, specifically and noninvasively cook cells to death.

Currently the nanospheres must be injected directly into the tumor - a simple task for near-surface tumors but difficult for most other common cancers deep within the body. The scientists are looking at more sophisticated means of targeting.
West told The Scientist that her group has unpublished data showing they could successfully target masses using either conjugated antibodies or by taking advantage of leaky vascularization around tumors...

While there are still some hurdles to overcome, the team expects to begin human clinical trials within 12 months. By that time it's likely that there will be more advances in targeting technologies.



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